“Dorothy Brown, MD, the first black female surgeon in the U.S., was also the first American state legislator to attempt to legalize abortion. As a member of the Tennessee state legislature in 1967, she proposed a bill to that effect and her commitment to reproductive rights remained strong in the decades that followed. In a 1983 interview she cut to the heart of the conflict about abortion in the black community when she said black women “should dispense quickly the notion that abortion is genocide; genocide in this county dates back to 1619,” the year African slaves were first brought to America.” A Simple Human Right, The History of Black Women and Abortion by Loretta J. Ross, On The Issues Spring 1994
I was going through Choice Matters’ amazing archives and came across this piece about Dorothy Brown, MD.
Many have come before us, but too often we don’t remember. This struggle has been fought and lead by women of all different demographics. Loretta J. Ross shares important insights on her website.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the perfect antidote for the time in which we are living; and when she died, the world seemed to stop.
She gave us hope, dreams and the belief we could win. Her life story was inspirational – like the movie we loved to watch, if we couldn’t live it. Married to the person of her dreams, coping with a new family, while going to Harvard and making Law Review – all as she began to change the world. We admired her indomitable spirit and sheer brilliance, packed into a pint-size body; and we drank from her strength to stand up for equal rights and protections for everyone – to speak truth to power.
She was groundbreaking. Women wouldn’t have the rights we have today, if not for RBG’s work. Winning five of the six cases she argued before the US Supreme Court, RBG’s legacy as the nation’s preeminent litigator for women’s rights is indisputable. Her dissenting opinions are legendary.
Let Justice Ginsburg’s words, [my] “most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed”, be our guiding light.
Once we have allowed ourselves to mourn, we must fight like never before. Our biggest take-away from her passing must be WE CAN DO THIS. We must dig down deeper, turning out voters for the November 3rd election, to vote early, in person or by mail.
Help Choice Matters and WCLA PAC put our bright yellow ProChoice Voting Guide into the hands of over 90,000 voters.
According to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began on Friday night, is a Tzadik, a person of great righteousness. The same is true for a person who dies on Shabbat. Ruth Bader Ginsburg managed to do both, amplifying the accuracy of the description and providing the final honor that she so deserved as she left us.
Remember, as we move forward and as RBG said, “Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.”
Instead: Take Action. Organize. Volunteer. And Donate.
Contributions do make a fundamental difference. Please donate what you can to help us turn out voters. With each dollar donated to Choice Matters and WCLA PAC, you help us get out the vote by putting a voting guide in the hands of a voter – making phone calls to voters, and rides to the polls possible. Every Vote Will Matter.
Two amazing Westchester women passed away in the past 6 months, Renata Schwebel and Marcy (Marcella) Kahn.
I want you to know their names because, like so many other women of their generation, they did not receive the recognition they deserved. Renata and Marcy committed themselves unequivocally to education, the arts, politics and women’s reproductive rights – and they helped change the face of Westchester.
Marcy, as an active member of the Westchester League of Women Voters, pressed for reapportionment. They fought for the application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1964 “one-person, one-vote ” decision, and won in 1969, when the state Court of Appeals upheld their governance plan. They moved the County from a government by a Board of Supervisors to one governed by a Board of Legislators.
Renata and Marcy did not have to be asked to take action; they did what was needed because they were driven to act.
Both of these women also made significant annual donations to WCLA PAC because they knew the power of our Bright Yellow ProChoice Voting Guide and its impact at the voting booths. They knew that if you cannot control your own body, you have nothing.
While it is always a struggle, without their contributions this year, we will come up short. We need your help and we need it now.
We have two asks of you: 1. Please Donate to WCLAPAC.org today. 2. And going forward, in honor of these two women, and all of those who fought for our rights, don’t wait to be asked –ACT!
Below are links about Marcy Kahn and Renata Schwebel and the history of the districting of Westchester County.
by Catherine Lederer-Plaskett
President/Chair of the Board
The successful appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is more than disturbing. Survivors from all over the country spoke out and millions called, protested, and marched. Chief Justice Roberts received numerous misconduct complaints against Kavanaugh from the DC Court of Appeals, which Roberts has refused to investigate. Kavanaugh lied under oath to the US Senate. The so-called FBI investigation refused to interview the many who offered credible information. And during his own testimony, Kavanaugh showed that he does not have the temperament for the job. But still, the Senate voted to confirm him.
This is not the first time this group of white old men rammed a candidate onto the Supreme Court, and unless we work smart it will not be the last.
Susan Collins is proof of a Choice Matters’ mantra: If being pro-choice is not at the top of a candidate’s agenda, not one of the top five issues, that person is of NO USE TO WOMEN. We will not support you. We will not tolerate lip service. Collins’ false narrative that she’s pro-choice and pro-woman has been exposed. The IDC members made the same false claims and we ousted 6 of them in the September Primary. Now it’s time to take Collins out. She’s up for re-election in 2020. We must be ready to work starting November 7th.
Unbelievable as it may seem, many women took this personally – not as surviviors but as the mothers of sons. They bought Trump’s narative that it is a horrible time for men. Some of these very women identify as “progressives” but still they blame the “girls”. As a sexual assault victim and the mother of 2 sons – 2 black sons – the population most likely to be falsely accused of any crime, I trust my sons AND I believe women. People need to take responsibility for their actions, and that includes how we raise our children. And,
Holding up a mirror. Democrats are guilty of some of the same behavior for which they attack Republicans. In Westchester, the top elected offices are all held by men, and both political parties are lead by men. It is time for this to change, and women must demand it!
As I walked out of my small high school in a rural southern town on my final day of classes, I was excited about all of the possibilities that awaited me when I reached college.
One was the prospect of being surrounded by politically like-minded individuals at the liberal arts school I would attend in the fall. I naively thought that because of this relocation, I would never have to bang my head against the wall after hearing a fellow studentâ€™s comments on politics ever again. I was entirely wrong. Although the political climate here is much less hostile than it is at home, it still seems that thereâ€™s a disconnect between whatâ€™s happening politically and the students who call themselves activists.
Many of them have never voted even though the majority of them are of legal voting age. Theyâ€™re perfectly content to protest outside Trump Tower on the weekends, but when it comes to mobilizing voters and going to the polls themselves, they fall painfully short. Additionally, there is too much focus placed on Trumpâ€™s personal issues. As awful as Trump can be, spending too much time gossiping about his relationship with a porn star and discussing his latest inflammatory tweet wonâ€™t do anything to prevent his political agenda from succeeding.
Millennials have to step up our game if we want anything to change. We are now the largest voting-eligible generation in the country! This power that we have is being undercut, however, by the fact that we have the lowest voter turnout rate of any age group. This is completely unacceptable. It is fair to feel disempowered when we are young and our elected officials seem so out of touch. It is fair to be frustrated. However, it is up to us to change that.
Millennials have the numbers now to turn the tide of elections. We have to stay informed, research candidates, and support the ones we believe in. Even when there are no candidates that perfectly align with our desires, that does not mean we have a free pass to sit out. We must – in these cases – vote preventatively to keep the people who seek to destroy our rights out of office. We must fight back against conservatives whose mission it is to tear us away from our contraceptives and our access to safe and legal abortions. We must fight back against candidates that have been accused of crimes such as sexual assault and sexual harassment. We must fight back against candidates who seek to take away power from women in any way.
Our days of being trapped in the kitchen voiceless and oppressed are over and we must keep it that way. Any time we choose to sit out an election is a time when we could have kept such candidates out of office with our votes. Let this serve as a call to action. Take your anger not only to the streets, but to the polls and to the offices of your representatives.
– What we feared is indeedÂ the new reality –
This White House is in the hands of
anti-Semitic misogynistic whiteÂ supremacists.
Dear Pro-Choice Voters,
Donald Trump and his closest advisers have turned the clock back to a time where discrimination and hate were an accepted, commonÂ trait of American life. They began before the General Election with hate mongering intended to stir the base and intimidate everyone else.Â Beginning with the Muslim ban to reinstating and expanding the Mexico City Policy* toÂ trampling on LGBT rights**, Trump was laying the groundwork for the resurgence of the KKK and Nazi demonstrations and violence we saw this weekend.
But make no mistake, this ideology of hate and the intimidation tactics the Trump administration employs areÂ not limited to Charlottesville or the South. It is right here in Westchester County and being spirited forward byÂ Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
On August 17th, Â Astorino vetoed the Immigration Protection Act – a bill that was in total compliance with federal law and that had passed the Board of Legislators 10-5. Â The goal of the bill was toÂ stop local law enforcement from acting as federal immigration officials, thereby protecting county resources and building trust in our communities.Â
Why did Astorino do this?
You need look no further than the praise Astorino’s veto received fromÂ Trump’s AG Jeff Sessions.
Remember this is THE Jeff Sessions who said the KKK is “OK”*** and used a Supreme Court case permitting the racial segregation of swimming pools to justify the Muslim ban.
This was not Astorino’s first attempt to please Trump. Back in the fall, when swastikas and racist graffiti started appeared around Westchester, Astorino blamed Obama and Clinton supporters, telling both leaders to calm their supporters – just as Trump blamed those who were demonstrating peacefully against the Nazis and KKKÂ in Charlottesville.
Only you can put an end to this hate mongering by our elected officials here in Westchester.
And that is by VOTING – And if you are not registered, do so: Register Here
Dorothy Height – “The godmother to the Civil Rights Movement” President Barack Obama
A portrait of Dorothy Height is on the Black Heritage forever stamp this month. She was an amazing woman with more credits to her name than most of us could ever dream of. She spent almost 50 years of her life fighting for race and gender equality.
She helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, and was the only woman to stand on the stage with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Â But, despite being a march organizer and representing the National Council of Negro Women, she was not asked to speak.
Dorothy Height recognized a fundamental truth – a truth that we must embrace today. Women’s rights, including the right to choose – the very right to control your own body – encompasses all women and must, therefore, include all women on the front lines.
Height and other black women leaders sought to empower the black community to fight restrictions on abortion. The African-American Women for Reproductive Rights, an influential black political, social and grass-roots organization, gave voice to that.
We will include Dorothy Height on our 45th anniversary wall Recognizing the Pro-Choice Voter.
The irony that it took until Trump was in the White House for her image to appear on our 1st class postage stamp cannot be overlooked. Trump and his administration seek to Â destroy all we have fought for, for Â so many years â€“ including birth control and abortion rights. Dorothy Height’s portrait stands as a reminder that we can neither stand idly by nor can we isolate ourselves in groups as we wage this battle.
We are targeting all 8 IDC* districts beginning with NYS Senate District #38, David Carlucci’s district.
Why start with Carlucci’s District?
He is one of the original 4 founding members of the IDC,Â AND he joinedÂ immediately upon being elected to his very first term. Carlucci started betraying his constitutents on Day One of his first term in the NYS Senate.
To educate voters about the IDC and their State Senator!
fyi: The IDC Â is blocking all progressive legislation including the Reproductive Health Act, Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act, and Â Contingency funding for Planned Parenthood from coming to the floor of the NYS Senate,Â INCLUDINGÂ a New York State bill that would force Trump to disclose his taxes.
On June 20th, in a much-welcomed victory, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman introduced a lawsuit to â€œprotect women from abuse and intimidation outside of a reproductive health clinic in Queens.â€ If successful, it would create a cushioning of 16 feet outside of the clinic to guarantee women have the freedom to exercise Â their constitutional right to access reproductive healthcare without the intimidation and harassment that has become far too familiar.
This is a much-needed, celebrated win for the women of New York. We commend the Attorney General for his continued support and empowerment of women when too few officials are willing to stand up for basic human rights.
In the time of Trump, this is exactly the kind of action that is imperative, now more than ever. We hope AG Schneidermanâ€™s action will inspire others in cities and states across the country to follow New York Stateâ€™s top law enforcement officerâ€™s lead.
Read more about AG Schneiderman’s action to protect the rights of women to safe access.
On May 23, 2017, join us for an educational forum to discuss the national reproductive rights landscape as it has changed since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, and how the Trump Administration has already impacted women’s health choices. We will examine what it mean for abortion to be a state’s rights issue and where, exactly, New York State fits into the equation.
This forum is being co-sponsored by WCLA – Choice Matters & the Ethical Culture Society of New York.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Ethical Culture Society of New York
2 West 64th Street
New York, New York 10025