1. Vigil for Nabra Hassanen Brings Together Community
Many of us are still reeling from the tragic murder of 17-year-old Muslim teen Nabra Hassanen on Sunday. Yesterday, 5,000 mourners attended her funeral — so many people came to show solidarity that the crowd overwhelmed traffic and cars were jammed into suburban streets more than a mile away. While investigations are ongoing, and police have yet to find evidence for a hate-crime, the local Washington, DC Muslim community is rightfully concerned. In 2016, the Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR) documented a 57% increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents and a 44% increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims. Yesterday, the day of Nabra’s funeral, a DC memorial honoring her was set ablaze (a 24-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident). But, for the nearly 1,000 people who gathered at another DC park for a similar vigil, the message was simple: say her name. The community has sent a unified message, that they refuse to be intimidated or silenced by violence.
2. Let’s Talk About Health, Baby
After weeks of secrecy, GOP Senate lawmakers have finally released the text of the healthcare bill that will repeal Obamacare. There’s a lot of detail in the 142-page bill, which you can read here (damn, this shit is complicated) but for a good initial round-up, check out this, this, or this. The big takeaways for us? While the Senate bill is thought to be slightly more moderate than the House bill, it certainly isn’t a complete revamp, as was suggested.
While it won’t allow states to opt out of protections for patients with pre-existing conditions (as was feared), the bill will take billions of dollars from Medicaid (reminder: Medicaid is a healthcare program that serves one in five Americans, not only the poor but almost two-thirds of those in nursing homes) and it will give that money to the rich through tax cuts. What else? The bill will limit abortion coverage—it prevents subsidies from being used to buy plans that include abortion services—and the bill will defund Planned Parenthood for one year. It will also repeal Obamacare regulations on how much insurers can charge their older customers (yup, that means under this bill, insurers can charge older customers five times as much as their younger ones. Uhhh, #ageism). Plus, this GOP-led bill will repeal the Obamacare provision that provides subsidies to help people with low incomes pay for out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, and co-pays (yeah, imagine not being able to get yourself or your kid into the doctor because you can’t afford the $20 co-pay; not a good look for our gov).
What’s next? The bill will be voted on at the end of the week. 50 votes are needed for it to pass, so if three Republicans vote NO, it will fail (and there are already Republican senators who have expressed concerns). This is a developing story, so stay tuned. And if you’re concerned about the bill, here’s how to call your Senator.
3. Women in Parliament? Oui, Oui!
A record number of women were elected to France’s Parliament during Sunday’s second-round elections. The number has increased over the past 15 years (who run the world?). In 2002, only 12.3% of seats went to women. This year? Nearly 39%. France has a system that restricts a party’s funding if it doesn’t have at least 49% female candidates. By comparison, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, women hold 19.4% seats in the US Congress. Can you imagine what our healthcare convo would be like if we had a Democratic and Republican party with 49% women? A girl can dream… In the meantime, check out VoteRunLead, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that supports, trains, and encourages women with political leadership aspirations. (Common misconception: You don’t need *any* qualifications to run for office, as long as you are a US citizen, and you don’t even need to have been born here, unless you’re #POTUS of course!).
4. Read Between the Legs
Sofia Ashraf is a Tamil rapper and singer whose protest songs have been taking the world by storm (including one that protested the pollution from a Unilever factor in Kodaikanal, India, and another that criticizes DOW Chemicals’ failure to compensate victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy). In honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day in May, the “Sista from the South” released Period Paatu, a song that “reads between the legs” of the menstrual hygiene industry’s effect on our bodies and the environment, through the style of Villu Paatu, a Tamil folk storytelling form. Watch the video and repeat after Sofia: “vaginaaaaaaaaa.”
5. Women in Sports Kick Goals for Empowerment
What can a girls soccer team do for women in India? Yuwa, an Indian-based organization that seeks to empower girls by showing them they have a right to focus on a life path *they choose* instead of getting married and starting a family, thinks it can do a lot! Through the Yuwa soccer team, girls enter a community where it’s cool to be ambitious and to kick ass in a male-dominated world.
Many Indian girls and young women suffer from gender discrimination that forces them out of education opportunities, into marriages, and trapped in cycles of domestic and sexual violence. In India, 12 million adolescent girls — almost one in five — have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and 2.6 million of girls aged 15-19 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or a forced sexual act, according to statistics from UNICEF. In Jharkhand, where Yuwa is based, six in 10 girls marry before the legal age of 18.
Closer to home, last week the WNBA’s Seattle Storm announced that they are partnering with Planned Parenthood. A rally on July 18th will raise money for PP in the greater Northwest and Hawaiian Islands, and $5 from each ticket to that day’s game will be donated to PP. The Storm is one of the few professional WNBA teams owned by women. . . so if you’re looking for a WNBA team to support…
- Top of the list for the THINX HQ book club, Janet Mock’s new memoir Surpassing Certainty, named for the Audre Lorde quote: "And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking." It’s out now.
- Last week, team THINX took an excursion to see Wonder Woman, and we’re proud to have contributed to the movie crossing the $600million mark in box office earnings worldwide, making it (by far) the most successful female-led action movie of all time. #GoDiana #TheyDontDeserveYou
- We’ve talked about the eeriness of The Handmaid’s Tale on the blog before, but those handmaidens didn’t disappear after the finale. They’re turning up in Statehouses all over the country to protest restrictions on reproductive rights (and, tbh, in my nightmares — that show was scary!!). Also, Alexis Bledel has been confirmed as a series regular for season 2 – PRAISE BE!