NOW and YOU – Registering Voters May 7, May 28, June 11th and 25th, July 9th and 23rd.

Please join us on Saturday, May 7 noon to 3 PM to get out the vote by registering voters for upcoming elections.

Please join Seattle NOW and the 1st Legislative District’s campaign to register people to vote. It is easy, fun and you will feel great afterward.

You will be trained with a script, how to use the walking list, have a partner and a clipboard and registration forms before we head out

To win Republicans have to lie and restrict voting. In every state with a Republican governor, it has become increasingly difficult to exercise our right to vote. In WA it is somewhat better, with a mail-in ballot, but we need voter turnout for a progressive win on Federal and State seats. We need a big voter turn out to take back our State Senate and to increase our majority in the House, not to mention the need to retain our state’s progressive Congress men and women, Governor Jay Inslee and Senator Murray!

We start at 12 noon at Linda Tosti-Lane’s house :
Please call (425) 299-2869 for directions and confirmation.

And from there we go to Mountlake Terrace precincts. The precincts we call on are chosen because they have good democratic turn out. We will probably carpool and be within blocks of each other as we knock on doors.

Linda will have fresh coffee, tea, water, some fresh fruit and snack bars to keep us going.

If you are unable to make the May 7th Voter Registration, the other dates to reserve are: May 28th, June 11th and 25th, July 9th and 23rd.
All of the dates are Saturday and the time is NOON to 3pm.

No need to RSVP if you are coming on May 7th. If you are coming on other dates, please confirm by calling Linda at (425) 299-2869

WA State NOW 2016 Conference

Where Passions Meet: Racial and Gender Justice

WA State National Organization for Women 2016 Conference

Saturday – May 14, 2016

9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Northwest African American Museum

2300 South Massachusetts Street, Seattle, WA. 98144

9:30-10:00 Registration

10:00-11:00 1st Plenary: Welcome, Agenda, Resolution protocols

And Exercise #1 Appreciating Privilege

11:00-12:00 Keynote Dr. Karen Johnson, Black Alliance of Thurston County

12:00-12:45 Lunch and Partner Organization Chats

12:45-1:45 Reproductive Justice Speaker, Surge Reproductive Justice

1:45-2:15 Break Out Issue Discussion/Resolution Groups

2:15-2:45 Resolution Report Plenary

2:45-4:00 Closing, clean up and visit Museum exhibits

(Agenda Subject to Change)

Morning Snack and Lunch are provided with your $25 registration fee.

No member will be turned away.

Registration form

 

RAISE THE ALARM ON WORKERS’ RIGHTS APRIL 14 WORKERS’ DAY OF ACTION

Sincere apologies for the delay in posting this.

ON APRIL 14TH, 2016, WORKERS WILL RAISE THE ALARM ACROSS WASHINGTON STATE ON POVERTY WAGES, SCHEDULING AND EFFORTS TO TURN BACK THE CLOCK ON WORKERS RIGHTS!
There are 4 actions and everyone is welcome to join at whichever spot is convenient. You can walk with the group from place to place OR join at any time along the route. It all starts at:

Seattle / Capitol Hill
11:00 • Cal Anderson Park
E Denny Way & Nagle PL
Raise the alarm on grocery store workers rights: Join the Grocery Store Workers Bill of Rights float and workers demanding support for local grocers, local workers and the communities they serve every day. Property investment firm Gerding Edlen plans to bring New Seasons Market to the Capitol Hill light rail station despite its terrible health and safety record and poor benefits it offers employees. Join us to demand a local, union grocery store at the light rail station

Then on to:
12:30 • Seattle University
12th Ave & E Marion St
Raise the alarm on SU adjunct professors rights: Stand with SU adjunct Professors fighting for a union and a voice on the job.

Next Stop:
Seattle / Downtown
12:30 pm • Starbucks
Pike Place Market, Seattle
Raise the alarm on insecure schedules: Starbucks baristas are leading the fight for secure schedules in Seattle. Despite public commitments by the company to improve scheduling practices, baristas continue to struggle with unpredictable, unstable schedules, and executives have failed to meet with workers to discuss their concerns.

And Finally:
1:30 PM • WELLS FARGO REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS
999 third Ave, Seattle

Raise the alarm on the extreme agenda of the Freedom Foundation and its links to Wells Fargo: A top regional Wells Fargo executive is a key funder of the Freedom Foundation, an extreme right-wing group which opposes the minimum wage, attacks unions, and otherwise tried to block workers rights.

Stand with NW Accountability Project; OneAmerica; Raise Up Washington; SEIU Locals 6, 775NW, 925, and 1199NW; Teamsters 117, UAW 4121; UFCW 21; Working Washington; and other organizations.

http://www.workingwa.org/raisethealarm

https://www.facebook.com/events/1764041823827834/

What Makes A Woman?

The article below appeared in the New York Times Sunday Review on June 6, 2015. Ms. Burkett raises questions that we all need to ask ourselves as women and as feminists. Some of it is easy to agree with: some of it is difficult. Do read and comment.

By: Eleanor Burkett

Do women and men have different brains?

Back when Lawrence H. Summers was president of Harvard and suggested that they did, the reaction was swift and merciless. Pundits branded him sexist. Faculty members deemed him a troglodyte. Alumni withheld donations.

But when Bruce Jenner said much the same thing in an April interview with Diane Sawyer, he was lionized for his bravery, even for his progressivism.

“My brain is much more female than it is male,” he told her, explaining how he knew that he was transgender.

This was the prelude to a new photo spread and interview in Vanity Fair that offered us a glimpse into Caitlyn Jenner’s idea of a woman: a cleavage-boosting corset, sultry poses, thick mascara and the prospect of regular “girls’ nights” of banter about hair and makeup. Ms. Jenner was greeted with even more thunderous applause. ESPN announced it would give Ms. Jenner an award for courage. President Obama also praised her. Not to be outdone, Chelsea Manning hopped on Ms. Jenner’s gender train on Twitter, gushing, “I am so much more aware of my emotions; much more sensitive emotionally (and physically).”

A part of me winced.

I have fought for many of my 68 years against efforts to put women — our brains, our hearts, our bodies, even our moods — into tidy boxes, to reduce us to hoary stereotypes. Suddenly, I find that many of the people I think of as being on my side — people who proudly call themselves progressive and fervently support the human need for self-determination — are buying into the notion that minor differences in male and female brains lead to major forks in the road and that some sort of gendered destiny is encoded in us.

That’s the kind of nonsense that was used to repress women for centuries. But the desire to support people like Ms. Jenner and their journey toward their truest selves has strangely and unwittingly brought it back.

People who haven’t lived their whole lives as women, whether Ms. Jenner or Mr. Summers, shouldn’t get to define us. That’s something men have been doing for much too long. And as much as I recognize and endorse the right of men to throw off the mantle of maleness, they cannot stake their claim to dignity as transgender people by trampling on mine as a woman.

Their truth is not my truth. Their female identities are not my female identity. They haven’t traveled through the world as women and been shaped by all that this entails. They haven’t suffered through business meetings with men talking to their breasts or woken up after sex terrified they’d forgotten to take their birth control pills the day before. They haven’t had to cope with the onset of their periods in the middle of a crowded subway, the humiliation of discovering that their male work partners’ checks were far larger than theirs, or the fear of being too weak to ward off rapists.

For me and many women, feminist and otherwise, one of the difficult parts of witnessing and wanting to rally behind the movement for transgender rights is the language that a growing number of trans individuals insist on, the notions of femininity that they’re articulating, and their disregard for the fact that being a woman means having accrued certain experiences, endured certain indignities and relished certain courtesies in a culture that reacted to you as one.

Brains are a good place to begin because one thing that science has learned about them is that they’re in fact shaped by experience, cultural and otherwise. The part of the brain that deals with navigation is enlarged in London taxi drivers, as is the region dealing with the movement of the fingers of the left hand in right-handed violinists.

“You can’t pick up a brain and say ‘that’s a girl’s brain’ or ‘that’s a boy’s brain,’ ” Gina Rippon, a neuroscientist at Britain’s Aston University, told The Telegraph last year. The differences between male and female brains are caused by the “drip, drip, drip” of the gendered environment, she said.

THE drip, drip, drip of Ms. Jenner’s experience included a hefty dose of male privilege few women could possibly imagine. While young “Bruiser,” as Bruce Jenner was called as a child, was being cheered on toward a university athletic scholarship, few female athletes could dare hope for such largess since universities offered little funding for women’s sports. When Mr. Jenner looked for a job to support himself during his training for the 1976 Olympics, he didn’t have to turn to the meager “Help Wanted – Female” ads in the newspapers, and he could get by on the $9,000 he earned annually, unlike young women whose median pay was little more than half that of men. Tall and strong, he never had to figure out how to walk streets safely at night.

Those are realities that shape women’s brains.

By defining womanhood the way he did to Ms. Sawyer, Mr. Jenner and the many advocates for transgender rights who take a similar tack ignore those realities. In the process, they undermine almost a century of hard-fought arguments that the very definition of female is a social construct that has subordinated us. And they undercut our efforts to change the circumstances we grew up with.

The “I was born in the wrong body” rhetoric favored by other trans people doesn’t work any better and is just as offensive, reducing us to our collective breasts and vaginas. Imagine the reaction if a young white man suddenly declared that he was trapped in the wrong body and, after using chemicals to change his skin pigmentation and crocheting his hair into twists, expected to be embraced by the black community.

Many women I know, of all ages and races, speak privately about how insulting we find the language trans activists use to explain themselves. After Mr. Jenner talked about his brain, one friend called it an outrage and asked in exasperation, “Is he saying that he’s bad at math, weeps during bad movies and is hard-wired for empathy?” After the release of the Vanity Fair photos of Ms. Jenner, Susan Ager, a Michigan journalist, wrote on her Facebook page, “I fully support Caitlyn Jenner, but I wish she hadn’t chosen to come out as a sex babe.”

For the most part, we bite our tongues and do not express the anger we openly and rightly heaped on Mr. Summers, put off by the mudslinging match that has broken out on the radical fringes of both the women’s and the trans movements over events limited to “women-born women,” access to bathrooms and who has suffered the greater persecution. The insult and outright fear that trans men and women live with is all too familiar to us, and a cruelly marginalized group’s battle for justice is something we instinctively want to rally behind.

But as the movement becomes mainstream, it’s growing harder to avoid asking pointed questions about the frequent attacks by some trans leaders on women’s right to define ourselves, our discourse and our bodies. After all, the trans movement isn’t simply echoing African-Americans, Chicanos, gays or women by demanding an end to the violence and discrimination, and to be treated with a full measure of respect. It’s demanding that women reconceptualize ourselves.

In January 2014, the actress Martha Plimpton, an abortion-rights advocate, sent out a tweet about a benefit for Texas abortion funding called “A Night of a Thousand Vaginas.” Suddenly, she was swamped by criticism for using the word “vagina.” “Given the constant genital policing, you can’t expect trans folks to feel included by an event title focused on a policed, binary genital,” responded @DrJaneChi.

WHEN Ms. Plimpton explained that she would continue to say “vagina” — and why shouldn’t she, given that without a vagina, there is no pregnancy or abortion? — her feed overflowed anew with indignation, Michelle Goldberg reported in The Nation. “So you’re really committed to doubling down on using a term that you’ve been told many times is exclusionary & harmful?” asked one blogger. Ms. Plimpton became, to use the new trans insult, a terf, which stands for “trans exclusionary radical feminist.”

In January, Project: Theatre at Mount Holyoke College, a self-described liberal arts college for women, canceled a performance of Eve Ensler’s iconic feminist play “The Vagina Monologues” because it offered an “extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman,” explained Erin Murphy, the student group’s chairwoman.

Let me get this right: The word “vagina” is exclusionary and offers an extremely narrow perspective on womanhood, so the 3.5 billion of us who have vaginas, along with the trans people who want them, should describe ours with the politically correct terminology trans activists are pushing on us: “front hole” or “internal genitalia”?

Even the word “woman” has come under assault by some of the very people who claim the right to be considered women. The hashtags #StandWithTexasWomen, popularized after Wendy Davis, then a state senator, attempted to filibuster the Texas Legislature to prevent passage of a draconian anti-abortion law, and #WeTrustWomen, are also under attack since they, too, are exclusionary.

“Abortion rights and reproductive justice is not a women’s issue,” wrote Emmett Stoffer, one of many self-described transgender persons to blog on the topic. It is “a uterus owner’s issue.” Mr. Stoffer was referring to the possibility that a woman who is taking hormones or undergoing surgery to become a man, or who does not identify as a woman, can still have a uterus, become pregnant and need an abortion.

Accordingly, abortion rights groups are under pressure to modify their mission statements to omit the word woman, as Katha Pollitt recently reported in The Nation. Those who have given in, like the New York Abortion Access Fund, now offer their services to “people” and to “callers.” Fund Texas Women, which covers the travel and hotel expenses of abortion seekers with no nearby clinic, recently changed its name to Fund Texas Choice. “With a name like Fund Texas Women, we were publicly excluding trans people who needed to get an abortion but were not women,” the group explains on its website.

Women’s colleges are contorting themselves into knots to accommodate female students who consider themselves men, but usually not men who are living as women. Now these institutions, whose core mission is to cultivate female leaders, have student government and dormitory presidents who identify as males.

As Ruth Padawer reported in The New York Times Magazine last fall, Wellesley students are increasingly replacing the word “sisterhood” with “siblinghood,” and faculty members are confronted with complaints from trans students about their universal use of the pronoun she — although Wellesley rightly brags about its long history as the “world’s pre-eminent college for women.”

The landscape that’s being mapped and the language that comes with it are impossible to understand and just as hard to navigate. The most theory-bound of the trans activists say that there are no paradoxes here, and that anyone who believes there are is clinging to a binary view of gender that’s hopelessly antiquated. Yet Ms. Jenner and Ms. Manning, to mention just two, expect to be called women even as the abortion providers are being told that using that term is discriminatory. So are those who have transitioned from men the only “legitimate” women left?

Women like me are not lost in false paradoxes; we were smashing binary views of male and female well before most Americans had ever heard the word “transgender” or used the word “binary” as an adjective. Because we did, and continue to do so, thousands of women once confined to jobs as secretaries, beauticians or flight attendants now work as welders, mechanics and pilots. It’s why our daughters play with trains and trucks as well as dolls, and why most of us feel free to wear skirts and heels on Tuesday and bluejeans on Friday.

In fact, it’s hard to believe that this hard-won loosening of gender constraints for women isn’t at least a partial explanation for why three times as many gender reassignment surgeries are performed on men. Men are, comparatively speaking, more bound, even strangled, by gender stereotyping.

The struggle to move beyond such stereotypes is far from over, and trans activists could be women’s natural allies moving forward. So long as humans produce X and Y chromosomes that lead to the development of penises and vaginas, almost all of us will be “assigned” genders at birth. But what we do with those genders — the roles we assign ourselves, and each other, based on them — is almost entirely mutable.

If that’s the ultimate message of the mainstream of the trans community, we’ll happily, lovingly welcome them to the fight to create space for everyone to express him-, her- or, in gender neutral parlance, hir-self without being coerced by gendered expectations. But undermining women’s identities, and silencing, erasing or renaming our experiences, aren’t necessary to that struggle.

Bruce Jenner told Ms. Sawyer that what he looked forward to most in his transition was the chance to wear nail polish, not for a furtive, fugitive instant, but until it chips off. I want that for Bruce, now Caitlyn, too. But I also want her to remember: Nail polish does not a woman make.

Elinor Burkett is a journalist, a former professor of women’s studies and an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker.

FREMONT FAIR – JUNE 18-20 – WE’LL BE THERE – JOIN US – HELP MAKE IT A SUCCESS

Seattle NOW, after several years’ absence, will once again have a booth at the Fremont Fair.

We have new and “old favorite” t-shirts, and buttons for sale, and we will be registering people to vote.

Those who have helped staff our booth in the past have always enjoyed the fun and camaraderie of this iconic Seattle event and many of them will be staffing the booth this year too. It’s a great place to meet and engage people and spread the message of feminist activism. We always have at least 2 people in the booth and one of them is always an experienced volunteer. Having 2 people also means that you have company and can take the time to see the other booths or watch the Solstice Parade.

If you are willing to take a shift (as long or short as you want) to help out, setting up (Friday afternoon) or staffing the booth (Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.: Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.) or to lend a hand for take-down (Sunday 6 p.m.) please reply to nowseattle@gmail.com and tell us which hours/day you would like to be there.

Many thanks and in peace,
Seattle NOW

ENDING HOMELESSNESS IN SEATTLE

Posted on April 9, 2015 by Thalia Syracopoulos
[Note: to be published in the PSARA Newsletter at a later date]

By the end of 2014 the “10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County” had been declared a total failure.

On 03/26/2015 Mayor Murray held a press conference to announce that he is directing a housing advisory panel to “develop specific proposals” to build and preserve 50,000 new housing units over the next 10 years within the city limits. Of these, 20,000 would be “income-restricted” affordable housing for seniors and 30,000 would be at market rate. The project is to be paid for by asking the voters to substantially increase the housing levy which comes up for renewal next year.

Ten days earlier, on 03/16/2015 the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee (HALA) presented an “Immediate Action Agenda” to Mayor Murray and the City Council. The report is 17 pages long and is easy to read:
(http://sagacitymedia.com/pdfs/publicola/ForPressOnly-CHCReport.pdf).

The HALA report addresses many options including Tenant Access/Protections, Preservation of Existing Subsidized Housing, Preservation/Creation of Affordability in existing Market-Rate Housing, New Affordable Housing Resources (including public land availability), Place based Strategies and Sustainable Homeownership.

The first section of the report addresses financing. Three of the recommendations are readily available to the City and do not involve increased or additional taxes.

1. Councilmanic bonds do not require a vote of the people, and do not increase taxes. Among the many projects these bonds have been used for are the new City Hall, McCaw Hall, remodeling Key Arena, Interbay Golf facilities, Fire/Police Stations, and Community Centers. While admirable and even necessary, very few of these projects qualify as emergencies. If it so chose, the City could issue at least $500M in $100M increments over a few years and still stay within the current bond cap for low-income and housing for homeless families and individuals.

Councilmanic bonds are the source of the $34M the City is contributing to the Pike Place Market expansion. If it goes as planned the expansion would include 40 units of low-income senior housing.

2. The City presently has a $228M “emergency reserve” and could spend up to $128M of that and still maintain its $100M obligatory reserve. Homelessness and its consequences (and costs, human and financial) are already an emergency. One has to question why the City does not consider the thousands of people sleeping on the streets and hundreds more in “emergency” shelters “an emergency”.

3. The Real Estate Excise Tax [REET] each year generates approximately $50 million for the City. Until it was discontinued by former Mayor Nickles, there was a “Growth Related Housing Fund” (GRGF), which took 20% of the incremental increase in property tax revenue from new construction and used it for the development of low income housing. Restoring the GRGF would provide ~$10M/yr that could be dedicated to housing for those who are homeless.

All three of these options are readily available and easy to implement if only the City chose to do so.

The section under “Zoning and Housing Types” has a number of suggestions, but it is the first that is most pressing and easiest to do. “Expand the city’s authority to require developers who demolish low income housing to replace 1 for 1 the housing they remove and at a comparable price (pg. 9)”. The absence of this authority has resulted in the loss of hundreds of units of affordable housing. The most recent example is Yesler Terrace which contained 520 units of housing affordable to families. Only 420 of those units will be replaced on-site and, if this project follows the path of other such “renovations” the 100 “off-site” units might well never be replaced.

I do not understand why the Mayor, 10 days after receiving the HALA report, touted a plan to use an increase in the housing levy, which requires voter approval, to fund 20,000 “income restricted” housing units. What I do understand is that we have to raise our voices and convince the City to implement readily available solutions outlined in the HALA report.

CONTACT THE MAYOR (206)684-4000, ed.murray@seattle.gov   and THE CITY COUNCIL (206) 684-8888 council@seattle.gov

Thalia Syracopoulos is member of the Board and former President of Seattle NOW.

UNITE HERE Local 8 Boycott Organizer Wanted

Boycott Organizer – UNITE HERE Local 8
Job posted by: UNITE HERE!
Job description

UNITE HERE Local 8 seeks a committed activist to be a Boycott Organizer in Seattle. Boycotts are a critical piece of our union’s comprehensive campaigns. Our members are raising the standards of low-wage, service sector jobs, and winning dignity and respect on the job through solidarity and action.

Boycott Coordinators develop strategy to move customers from boycotted properties, work with worker committees and lead teams of volunteer activists to plan and carry out creative actions to help enforce boycotts. The work is typically 30% – Coordinating and executing creative actions at strategic locations to help enforce boycotts and 70% – Research and campaign communications related work.

UNITE HERE Local 8 represents over 3,000 hospitality workers, including hotel workers in downtown Seattle, SeaTac, Tacoma, and Olympia. UNITE HERE’s membership is very diverse, comprised largely of immigrants and including high percentages of African-American, Latino, and Asian-American workers – with a majority overall being women. Through organizing and winning good contracts, UNITE HERE members in Seattle and throughout North America have made hundreds of thousands of traditionally low-wage jobs into good, family-sustaining, middle class jobs. Local 8 is an affiliate of UNITE HERE (www.unitehere.org) which represents more than 250,000 workers in North America.

Desired Qualifications

Must have passion for low wage and other worker struggles;
Must have previous activist experience — boycott experience a plus;
Must be assertive and have excellent language, writing and computer skills.
Applicants must be willing and able to travel to appropriate work sites;
Spanish language skills are desired.

Duties Include (but are not limited to):

Researching hotel clients;
Developing and carrying out strategy to move clients from hotels that are driving down industry standards;
Recruiting/developing/maintaining volunteer committees;
Working with community and labor allies;
Coordinating actions such as leafleting, delegations and marches, including frequent early morning actions.

How to apply

Send cover letter, resume, and 1-3 pp. writing sample to Meg Robertson, mrobertson@unitehere.org
Location: Seattle, WA, US

Education requirements: No requirement
Languages needed: English , Spanish language (spoken) a plus , Cantonese language (spoken) a plus
Employment type: Full time
Professional level: None specified
Salary details: Commensurate with Experience
Benefits: Excellent Benefits

Job function: Labor Union , Activism , Advocacy , Trades and labor , Union , Workers’ Rights , Economic Justice

Owner’s areas of focus: Economic development , Immigration , Job and workplace , Labor Union , Workers Rights , Activist , Union , economic justice

http://www.idealist.org/view/job/7Tkg4K96778d/