6 O’Clock BS – Joining Groups

Look at that – it’s six o’clock! Today let’s talk about how to choose a cause. If you believe that getting involved in groups, issues, debates, community building, et cetera is a good way to spend your time, then it’s not an issue of finding an issue, it’s a matter of choosing one (or several). Thanks to the internet you can find or get involved with almost any issue from almost any location, and there is no end of groups that are looking for people to help spread their message, fight for their cause or to just hang out and be social. In many cases, the only limiting factors to your involvement are your time, your attention or interest, and your sanity.

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6 O’Clock BS – Joining Groups
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6 O'Clock BS – Joining Groups

Look at that – it’s six o’clock! Today let’s talk about how to choose a cause. If you believe that getting involved in groups, issues, debates, community building, et cetera is a good way to spend your time, then it’s not an issue of finding an issue, it’s a matter of choosing one (or several). Thanks to the internet you can find or get involved with almost any issue from almost any location, and there is no end of groups that are looking for people to help spread their message, fight for their cause or to just hang out and be social. In many cases, the only limiting factors to your involvement are your time, your attention or interest, and your sanity.

Continue reading “6 O'Clock BS – Joining Groups”

6 O'Clock BS – Joining Groups

Blogging as Activism – Harassment Policies

For those people who think that blogging is narcissistic, self-centered prattling, that we’re yelling into a void, that we’re just whining and not working to make real change, Stephanie Zvan is here to prove that blogging can be activism and can lead to change of the best kind.

Over at her blog, Almost Diamonds, she posted about sexist behavior at conventions which leads to women and men feeling uncomfortable, and in cases, unsafe. Unchecked sexually-charged atmospheres have earned some conventions a reputation of being unwelcoming to women. Some – including myself – would argue that this is one reason why women have been slow to join active communities outside of the internet.  It is a controversial topic because it’s a serious topic, and unless you have personally witnessed or been a victim of this sort of unwanted attention, it’s easy to believe that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s not as pervasive as witnesses have been saying, that people are over-reacting or misinterpreting. It’s easy to think this way because not enough of us have been working to open all of our eyes to this issue. But Stephanie has a way to help change this: Harassment policies at conventions.

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Blogging as Activism – Harassment Policies

Choice Leadership Conference Opportunity

Damn. I’m too old for this and it sounds like a great opportunity.

If you are or want to be a reproductive freedom activist, NARAL is advertising a leadership conference in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) metro area on June 8-10 for young adults aged 18-30.

According to the website, the institute is at no cost to participants. Meals will be provided. Travel and lodging stipends are also available (funding comes from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota). People of color, queer people, gender non-conforming people and trans people are strongly encouraged to apply.

The application due date is coming up quickly. For more information check out the web pages linked below:

The Choice Leadership Institute and Fellowship (CLIF)seeks to develop, educate, and empower emerging pro-choice leaders. Twenty pro-choice young adults, aged 18 to 30, will go through a full weekend of reproductive freedom and leadership trainings, followed by the opportunity to create a self-directed community engagement project.

Training sessions include Inequity in Access, Advocacy 101, and the Current Landscape of Reproductive Health in Minnesota. Presenting organizations include women winning, Take Action MN, and Pro-Choice Resources.

Applications for this exciting opportunity are due by May 23.

The future of choice is in your hands – apply today!

Choice Leadership Conference Opportunity

FTF1 – Impressions and Evidentialism

I had a great time at Freethought Festival 2012 (FTF1) in Madison, Wisconsin. Y’all. Seriously. If you’re active in the atheist online community and want to get more involved in person “on the ground”, if you’re looking to connect with other freethinkers, if you want to compare notes with other organizations and people from other parts of the country, you gotta, gotta, gotta get to a conference.

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FTF1 – Impressions and Evidentialism

Damn you, Kony.

Alright. So Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army are responsible for kidnapping children and turning them into sex-slaves and child soldiers, for the spreading of his odd mix of Christianity/Mysticism, for attempting to turn Uganda into his particular brand of theocracy, for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. But now we in Minnesota have a real reason to wake up…now it’s turned personal.

Someone spray painted “Kony” on the Spoonbridge. You know, the iconic spoon and cherry sculpture that I have in my blog banner? And because one good tag deserves another, the vandals hit two more of the outdoor sculptures. You can see the vandalism of the spoon here. According to the City Pages the vandalism may be linked to Invisible Children’s Cover the Night campaign, which took place on Saturday at the same time that the graffiti occurred.

Now I’m really upset. Grrr! Now I want to go out and find Kony and bring him to justice. And it’s all thanks to those vandals!

Said no one ever.

Kony is evil. Finding him and bringing him to justice is important. But vandalism – whether the target be our cherished Spoonbridge or the side of building – isn’t the kind of tactic that generates widespread support for your cause. There were other legal, more visible ways to participate in Cover the Night. Organizing people, printing literature, knowing the details of the cause you support, prepping your elevator speech, getting out and spreading the word about Kony is hard work, hard work that these people could have committed to doing if they really wanted to be effective. Spray paint is lazy. Activism fail.

Damn you, Kony.

Happy Good Friday!

For the second year in a row I will be celebrating the holiday at Planned Parenthood , countering this kind of dumbz:

I’m pretty sure the “Chicken Strip” sign was for the DQ next door, and not an anti-choice protest sign. Poor framing of the shot. Mea culpa. *hehehe*

Our side had WAY more fun:

Plus we raised a crap-ton of money for Planned Parenthood through the Pledge-A-Protester effort.

Why is everyone out walking in circles in front of a doctor’s office? Let’s ask the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis:

Join with us to pray in front of Planned Parenthood on Good Friday. Fifteen area pastors will lead in scripture and prayer each half hour throughout the day. A life-sized cross will be our only sign as we carry the cross of abortion. An area will be cordoned off for a family-safe day of prayer. Last Good Friday, more than 2,500 Christians joined in prayer throughout the day at this vigil. Help us double those numbers on April 6! Invite your whole church.

One of the church congregations that attended last year had this to say about the event:
Pro-Life Action Ministry’s annual all-day Good Friday Prayer Vigil is quickly approaching. This is one of the most moving events you could attend to commemorate the passion and death of our Lord Jesus. This event will bring for you a deepened awareness and spiritual understanding of Jesus’ suffering and death which won our salvation. And it will greatly enhance the Good Friday services at your own church.

I don’t even…oww…it…so many irrelevant non-arguments…my head!

There’s still time to join in the fun today.  If you’re in the Twin Cities are, these are two way can get involved:

1) Come on down to the St. Paul Planned Parenthood Health Center (671 Vandalia Street) any time from 8am to 4pm today. Organizers will have signs that you can carry. Just jump in the march line and add your voice and presence to those of us who will be out to show that Minnesotans stand with Planned Parenthood!

2) Pledge a Protester – Over 1000 protesters are expected at the St. Paul Planned Parenthood today. For $10 you can “Pledge a Protester”, the idea being that the more protesters who show up, the more money they raise for Planned Parenthood. You know you want to: Click here to Pledge A Protester.

One more cup of coffee and then I’m out of here. Photos of the rally to follow in the next day or so. Happy Good Friday!

Happy Good Friday!

A Call for Your Stories

I’m partnering with a new group to increase visibility of reproductive health care rights and access to abortion. The group is called Voice of Choice.

Voice of Choice came to be when a father on the periphery of the abortion debate was dragged into the fray by an organized virtual – and then physical – mob of protesters calling him, emailing him and finally showing up at his daughter’s school. The protestors’ actions could only be called bullying.

I wrote about this incident back in September. The father organized supporters to politely engage the harassers via phone calls and email, thanking them for their concern, but  letting them know that they were acting on erroneous information. Each harasser received similar calls from multiple people and mounds of email. Soon after this counter-protest started, the rude, angry phone calls and emails that the father had been receiving stopped.

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A Call for Your Stories

#nudephotorevolutionary Calendar

Some incredible women made this.

Maryam Namazie, one of the bloggers here at Freethought Blogs had the idea for the project, and has description of the #nudephotorevolutionary Calendar and inspirations for the project at her website.

I am absolutely stunned by this demonstration of activism. My breath is taken away by the bravery and boldness of the women who participated in the #nuderevolutionaries Calendar. I can only imagine the depth of conviction that led Aliaa Mada Elmahdy to to post the first #nuderevolutionaries photo.

And that pisses me off.

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#nudephotorevolutionary Calendar

Women Deliver 50

This is exciting.

Women Deliver is a global advocacy group that works to enable safe motherhood, gender equality, girls’ education, poverty reduction, combating HIV/AIDS, maternal and newborn health, and other issues that are related to helping women lead healthy, happy, fulfilling lives.

Women Deliver has been hosting a contest called Women Deliver 50, in which they received over 500 nominations of projects that are meant to benefit women in the areas of

  • Technologies and Innovations
  • Educational Initiatives
  • Health Modernization
  • Advocacy and Awareness Campaigns
  • Leadership and Empowerment Programs

Continue reading “Women Deliver 50”

Women Deliver 50