I Believe and I Vote

I believe in democracy.
I believe in every citizens’ right to vote.
Without intimidation or fear.
I believe in justice and opportunity for all.
For our Mothers, Daughters, and Sisters…
For our Fathers, Sons, and Brothers.
… It’s the American Way.
What about you?
Remember in November!

Words are very powerful.  Sometimes, however, pictures are worth a 1000 words.

Here’s one such video.  Believe in yourself and your power as a voter.  Get out and vote!

Complete Video with audio 10-10-2016 from George Polisner on Vimeo.

Civic Works -GOTV Video for 2016 -George Polisner and Muhammad Azim.

Out of the Closet

For my friends, family members and others who are in the “closet” for fear our current political climate. Whether you are you gay, straight, Muslim, black, a sexual assault survivor, …, or just fearful of putting up a yard sign in your yard. This is for you…

Nel's New Day

National Coming Out Day has been commemorated every October 11 for the past 28 years. It began in 1988 by marking the one-year anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington Lesbian and Gay Rights and continues to invite LGBT people to come out of the “closet” and proudly announce their sexual orientation and gender identity. The “closet” has been more and more associated with the LGBT community because, as Judy Grahn wrote in 1984:

“At present the term ‘closet’ implies a scandalous personal secret, or skeleton, in the family closet. In the case of a Gay person, it refers more precisely to being the skeleton in the family’s closet. That skeleton is the reality of Gayness itself. The sometimes violent and always frightening suppression of Gay culture often forces Gay people to live in the closet, in a secret world….”

The past few decades have marked a time when LGBT…

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For Many Women, Trump’s ‘Locker Room Talk’ Brings Memories of Abuse

A version of this article appears in print on October 11, 2016, on page A1 of the New York Times.

Central Oregon Coast NOW

OCT. 10, 2016

assault Jill Gallenstein of Los Angeles wrote on Facebook about her experience with sexual assault. “This is RAPE CULTURE — the cultural conditioning of men and boys to feel entitled to treat women as objects,” she said. Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times

It was the author Kelly Oxford, a social media powerhouse, who got things started on Friday night.

“Women: tweet me your first assaults,” she wrote on Twitter at 7:48 p.m. “They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.”

When she first posted the message, Ms. Oxford said in an interview later, she did not expect more than a handful of replies. “It was such a personal question,” she said. “I thought, ‘No one is going to share anything on Twitter.’”

Yet by Saturday morning, she was getting…

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Republicans Must #DumpTrump: Trump’s Lewd Language & Sexual Assault Braggadocio

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, here’s something you can do.

Yesterday, the Washington Post released a 2005 video of Donald Trump. In this video and news article, Trump, using lewd language where he essentially brags about sexually assaulting women.

Video Courtesy of the Washington Post (Trigger Warning: Crude, lewd language)

A few hours after the video was released, Trump released a classic non-apology in a statement, saying “I apologize if anyone was offended.” What he said was that he was sorry for others being offended by his language and behavior condoning sexual assault.  Not that he was personally sorry for his offensive behavior.

A few hours after that, he released a short video again “apologizing” saying“I said it. I was wrong and I apologize.”  I put apologizing in quotes because he then immediately segued into blaming the Clinton’s for abuse of women saying that they both abused women but he only used bad language.

Video Courtesy of USA TV.

His “apology,” stated:

“I’ve said some foolish things. But there’s a difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary [no last name mentioned as he consistently does with men] has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victim”

Trump saying he hasn’t abused women???!!! His words in the 2005 video speak otherwise:

“I did try and f— her. She was married.”

“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married”

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”

All of these statements meet the definition of sexual assault as defined by the FBI:

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

In 2013, I wrote a blog about the climate of indifference related to sexual assault on college campuses.  This is no different. Trump’s indifference towards women and his misogynistic and possibly criminal behavior is unacceptable and disgusting.  As Bridgette Stumpf, co-executive director of Network for Victim Recovery of D.C. told the Washington Post:

“That’s nothing less than someone talking about committing sexual violence — the kissing, the grabbing. He’s talking about women as if they’re objects, as if they don’t have a right to consent to the way someone touches them. This is how sexual violence becomes accepted in our culture.”

So what can you do?  If you are a survivor of a sexual assault or abuse OR personally know someone who has been assaulted or abused, please take a moment to sign the UltraViolet.org letter to Republican leaders, candidates, and elected officials.

Only your first name will be used to protect your privacy.  This letter calls upon…

 “ALL Republican leaders, candidates, and elected officials to take a stand against sexual assault and abuse–and take a stand against your own nominee for President. You must not only denounce Trump’s words, but clearly and unequivocally denounce his candidacy and do all in your power to make sure that this sexual predator never sets foot in the White House. And we urge you to support strong policies that will end the epidemic of sexual assault in this country and support survivors of abuse.”

This has to stop.  No “Assaulter in Chief!” Please sign this letter now!

Just In: Unlocking Abortion Coverage in the Keystone State

Info and link to a guide on abortion access under Pennsylvania’s Medicaid Program. As this shows, we need to have Congress repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Women's Law Project Blog


The Women’s Law Project, in collaboration with the National Health Law Program, just published Unlocking Abortion Coverage in the Keystone State, an initiative of the Reproductive Health Data and Accountability Project.

Unlocking Abortion Coverage in the Keystone State is a report and guide for abortion providers that addresses rules governing coverage of abortion under Pennsylvania Medical Assistance, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program.

Pennsylvania Medical Assistance provides public health coverage to low-income people who meet certain eligibility criteria. Though coverage of abortion care under Medical Assistance is extremely limited, federal and state laws and policies require Medical Assistance to cover abortions in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment.

You can download or read the guide here.

Last week, Philadelphia became the 11th city to officially call on Congress to repeal the Hyde Amendment, the federal law that prohibits federal dollars from funding abortion through Medicaid except in these narrow…

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picture of Rev. Pauli Murray seated in front of a Magnolia tree.

Make Pauli Murphy’s Childhood Home a US National Landmark

Did you know that there are very few National Landmark, National Monument, National Park or other official recognitions of the accomplishments of women? According to the list gathered by Wikipedia, the National Park Service has 11 national parks and 47 national landmarks recognizing specific women. An additional 53 sites include information on one or more women’s contributions to our history.  That is out of a total of 413 sites managed by the Park Service – national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House. That means that just under one-quarter of all of the parks recognize women in general and just 14% focus on the accomplishments of a specific woman.

We can do better.  And there’s a chance right now for you to make this happen.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation is lobbying the National Park Service to designate Rev. Pauli Murray’s  childhood home in Durham, North Carolina as a National Landmark.

sepia-toned photo of Pauli Murray's childhood home.

Childhood home of Pauli Murray. It was built by her grandfather Robert Fitzgerald in 1910. Photo courtesy of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliff Institute, Harvard University.

Who was she?  Born in 1910 and died in 1986, Murray was a

  • Teacher
  • Civil Rights Activist from the 1930’s to the end of her life. She worked with Philip RandolphBayard Rustin and Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights Movement but became critical of the male domination of the leadership within the movement.  She first expressed this frustration in 1963 in a letter to Randolph, saying, “[I’ve] “been increasingly perturbed over the blatant disparity between the major role which Negro women have played and are playing in the crucial grass-roots levels of our struggle and the minor role of leadership they have been assigned in the national policy-making decisions.” Three years later, she became one of the founding members of the National Organization for Women.
  • Life-long friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. One author has called Murray Eleanor Roosevelt’s “Beloved Radical.” In 1952, for example, Murray lost a position at Cornell University’s Law School because her three references – Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, and Philip Randolph – were considered to be too radical and by inference, so was she.
  • Lawyer.
  • Writer. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall described her 1951 book States’ Laws on Race and Color as the “Bible for civil rights lawyers.”
  • Priest. In fact, she was the first African-American woman to become a priest. That was in 1977.
picture of Rev. Pauli Murray seated in front of a Magnolia tree.

Reverend Pauli Murray in 1978. Photo Courtesy of the Pauli Murray Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

If you want to join the National Trust and help get the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice designated as  National Landmark honoring Pauli Murray, please sign this petition before Tuesday, October 18, 2016. That’s the day the National Park Service meets and is likely to make this decision.

Thank you!

Why I’m Voting for the Women this Fall

Vote Local PA logo

Vote Local. In my case, from top to bottom, this year it’s mostly women!

The idea of having a man who, at minimum, disparages women and people of color, in his campaign for the White House is discombobulating. And dangerous to our society.  I am one of many (in all likelihood the majority of voters) who will not be voting or supporting Donald Trump in November.

Why? I don’t want a racist and sexist despot in the White House.

In a blog on Nel’s  New Day called Trump Loses with Blacks, Women; Nel points out some of the inner workings of Trump— the man, his campaign, and the “can of worms” that his potential leadership of this country could bring forth.

What particularly strikes me in this expose is Donald Trump’s retrograde idea of parenting and women’s “place” in life.  Among these is his idea that parenting is solely the responsibility of women.  His parental leave policy not only is discriminatory towards men, it’s minimalist in its depth and would result in an expanding economic disparity between educated white men and just about everyone else.

As Rebecca Traister reports in her 2015 article in the New Republic, a lack of federal policies supporting paid parental leave for both men and women hurts individual families as well as our society.  She also points out that sexist maternity leave policies result in increasing disparity among our citizenry.  She says:

“The United States and its corporate structures were built with one kind of worker—frankly, with one kind of citizen—in mind. That citizen wage-earner was a white man. That this weakness is being addressed by employers faster than it is being addressed by Congress contributes to the widening of the class chasm. Policies that account for the fact that women now give birth and earn wages on which their families depend—and, for that matter, that men now earn wages and provide childcare on which their families depend—should not be crafted by individual bosses or corporations on a piecemeal basis that inevitably favors already privileged populations. They should be available to every American. But until we see a large-scale, national refashioning of family leave, the economic fates of childbearers will be left in the hands of the private entities that employ them.”

Definitely not Trump’s view of America.  But it is mine.

We need a person in the White House and people in Congress who believe in a compassionate and caring family-friendly workplace and community.  We need people who will craft a strong and national egalitarian family leave policy for all.  For women. For men. For LGBTQIA people. For single as well as married parents and adult caregivers.  And for people regardless of color or source and amount of income.

So in November, I will vote for people  running for policy-making positions who can fit this bill.  Here in PA, they are all women – a first for me.  That’s Hilary Rodham Clinton for President, Katie McGinty for the US Senate, and Kerith Strano Taylor for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District. And at the state level, it’s Melody Fleck for the 171st PA House District  (the same seat I ran for in 2008 when I was the only woman on my ballot that year).

Hey Pennsylvania: Rock Out for Abortion Rights this Saturday 9/10           

Women's Law Project Blog

This Saturday, more than 30 cities across the country, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, are hosting events as part of All Access, a series of concerts and conversations about unequal access to abortion in America.


This is the deal: Women’s healthcare is in a preventable crisis in the United States. In the last five years, hundreds of abortion bans have been passed into law depriving women all over the country, including in Pennsylvania, of access to healthcare. In short, since anti-choice activists can’t legally criminalize abortion outright, they’re focused on proposing laws that discriminate against low-income women by installing financial and logistical barriers to abortion access.

Equality is not possible without equal access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare, including abortion. Racial justice and economic security are not possible without reproductive freedom.

Please join us this Saturday in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as we rock for abortion access.

All Access:…

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She has Returned

Poetry. How a Bernie Sanders supporter came atound to supporting Hilary Clinton for President of the United States.

Tribe of Dreams

The very first time I heard Bernie Sanders speak, I knew who he was

knew the energy he was representing

knew that he was being fed from the same wellspring of evolving consciousness by which so many of us have been being fed lately on this planet.

This wellspring offers the energy of community





It offers the energy of equality




It offers the energy of love.

In a civilization that values profit about all else

this energy becomes revolutionary

but it is not by nature.

By nature, this energy is evolutionary.

There is only so long that we can continue to stumble blindly upon the Earth

eating her up faster than she can feed us

and creating so much suffering for ourselves, our kin in the community of life, and our future generations.

So it is not only unsurprising,

but also necessary

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Women’s Vote Can Change the World

Today is Women’s Equality Day. This blog says it all. Women’s history. Voting Rights. And the Equal Rights Amendment which states:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.


Ninety-six years ago today, women won the right to vote with the addition of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. It’s now time for full equality. Women rights must be added to the US Constitution. Pass and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Nel's New Day

Pickets-Women-White-HouseMy mother was born on November 12, 1899, just ten days too late to vote the United States legalized the vote for women. After 72 years of ridicule, imprisonment, forced feedings, and other forms of opposition to women gaining their full citizenship rights, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed on August 18, 1920—thanks to one state legislator from Tennessee who followed his mother’s advice. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the proclamation after the certified record from Tennessee arrived at the capitol.

it's a woman's worldIn the first election, only nine million women, about 35 percent of those eligible, voted, compared to almost twice as many men. Public sentiment followed one of the headlines about the event: “Is suffrage a failure?” For the next 45 years, black women in the South joined black men to eliminate literacy tests, poll tests, and other voter suppression activities. Since 1980, however, women…

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