Monday, November 17, 2014

Take Action! Sign The Petition to Elevate Women's Equality Day to a Federal Holiday

Right click to save this image to promote this campaign's petition. Help us get 100,000 signatures!

Women For Action launched a campaign to petition political leaders to elevate August 26th, Women’s Equality Day to a federal holiday. Despite it’s forty-three year existence, it is dimly recognized. This special day highlights key contributions that should be celebrated and commemorated with more depth in history books. These events were important to American U.S. history and policy, which ultimately spurred a shift and tone for U.S. society.

Women’s Equality Day was set aside by the United States government in 1971 to commemorate women’s right to vote which was due to the certification of the nineteenth amendment on August 26th, 1920. The institution and installment of the commemoration day was largely due to a 1970 protest on August 26th organized by feminist activists who petitioned for equality in education, employment, and access to childcare. The nationwide movement garnered over 100,000 women across the country and was considered the largest gender equality protest in U.S. history.

The petition, “Elevate Women’s Equality Day to a Federal Holiday” proposes 100,000 signatures in honor of the 100,000+ women protest.

The special day may have all the key ingredients to be highlighted with significance. Women’s right to vote came almost a century after a young Susan B. Anthony asked for equal pay for women teachers. Her campaign for equality, among many others like her such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth went on for several decades. Many of these women warriors died well before their dream of inclusion was realized.  The women’s suffrage movement was not without its timeline of significant strife.  

Women For Action feels that Women’s Equality Day is a strong representation of American ideals--diversity and inclusion.  It serves as a token to remind the American people of road the that’s been traveled and where the country should be headed. Women have been through immense hurdles. Though strides have been made, women are still a long way from equality. Women are still making less than their male counterparts and for women of color, the gap is far greater.  Also, women have lesser numbers in significant forms of leadership. As the petition states, “Recognizing this day as a federal holiday does not resolve all efforts to establish equality…This initiative will bring us a step closer towards balancing the scale and commemorating efforts that support inclusiveness and equality.”

Please join us for this very important initiative to elevate a significant day not just for women, but for all Americans!

To support the petition, visit the following link.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Interview with Filmmakers Neena Nejad & Xoel Pamos and Cast Member, Ruth Trotter from The Price of Honor

Photo of Sarah and Amina Said, Courtesy of The Price of Honor Documentary

It is a chilling story to tell. The film would probably give you goosebumps after watching footage of Amina and Sarah Said or even reading dozens of letters and emails written by Amina.  They were two teen girls who were murdered by their own father, Yaser Said in 2008 simply because they did not want to be forced into marriages. They just wanted to be normal American teenagers and free of an abusive father. Yaser could  not depart from the perception that his daughters had been corrupted. For that, they were killed! [read]

Monday, October 27, 2014

ITALY & BRAZIL: Interview with Professor Massimo Canevacci and Flavia Kremer Discussing the Bororo Culture and Tradition (Part Two)

Bororo girl (Photo courtesy of Massimo Canevacci)

In Part Two of this interview series with Professor Massimo Canevacci and Flavia Kremer, both professors discuss their research and compassion for the Bororo people in Mato Grosso, Brazil. The Bororos attempt to hold on to tradition. Yet there are many outside threats. They are often terrorized by vicious local predators, westernization (religion and dominance) and modernization. The passing of the late José Carlos Kuguri, the last great Mestre dos Cantos (master of songs) was a blow to many feelings of optimism. [read]

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"The Price of Honor": The World Can Help Restore Honor and Faith by Shedding Light On Violent Traditions

Sarah and Amina Said: The Price of Honor Film Poster

Around the world thousands of women and girls are subjected to avenged acts of honor violence. It is a huge price to pay when they aren't meeting the expectations of their family.  Honor is a systematic approach to  keep women and girls in check, oftentimes to control their chastity and  sexuality. Avenged acts of honor violence are anything from raping, acid burning, cutting, basically scarring someone mentally and/or physically to killing. These examples are consequences to a violation against that system.  This is not to be confused with the non-vengeful acts, though they  are now constituted as crimes of honor, yet are apart of tribal traditions, such as female genital mutilation (fgm) and forced marriages.
Such traditions has no correlation with the teachings of Islam. These are practices that have been adopted and enforced by extremists and religious fanatics. There is a higher emphasis on social standing than the welfare and good of another human-being.  Cultural practitioners have no qualms with discarding family if they become a disappointment. Though women and girls are majority victims, they also become accomplices to such tragedies. Mothers will subject their children to agony to restore honor to the family.
Although the ratio is small, men and boys are targeted  for being homosexual, refusing an arranged marriage or marrying someone outside their culture. One must abide by honor and is beholden to their family’s beliefs and traditions. Even when confronted by western customs, they must abide by their familial ideals first.  This can be quite difficult especially for a child who attends school with other American children, which are typically free to express themselves and search for their own sense of identity. In honor societies, a woman's autonomy is forbidden. At first, girls are the property of their fathers and brothers. The father decides who she shall marry. Then she becomes the property of her husband. This is a critical expectation to honor. Girls who break from this code may be disowned and avenged by their families.
Experts suggest that the reports on honor violence are not being treated as such. For example, In the United States, they are often  mislabeled which hinders the  investigations. According to The Price of Honor Documentary, within the western world, honor violence is mistaken for domestic violence because the perpetrator is usually family. Yet there is a distinct difference between the two. Perpetrators of  honor violence feel that their behavior is justified. It is often upheld and warranted, strategically carried out by the victim's family and community. Whereas in a domestic violence situation, the assailant understands that he is committing a crime, may feel guilt, fears getting caught and would be ashamed and brought to justice by the victim's family and local community. Honor violence is a perpetuated type of violence due to the very fact that the tradition is sanctioned by those that are the closest to the victims. Family members believe that they are doing something good. They are supported by their communities. In many cases, women and girls will oblige and succumb to the pressures of cultural traditions just to keep the peace.
In honor violence and honor killings scenarios, the assailant sometimes get away. This has been the case of the Texas murders of Amina and Sarah Said, two teenage girls who were murdered by their father, Yaser Said. In 2008, Yaser shot his daughters to death in the back of his taxi cab because they wanted to love who they wanted to love and be normal American teenagers. The documentary, The Price of Honor notes that Yaser's  whereabouts may be known by those that are closest to him--his brothers and the victims' uncles. These are the same people who might have helped him with his escape.
Perpetrators of such violence are often male-fathers who will disown and harm their daughters for the belief that she has been corrupted. They feel shame if their daughters are perceived as unchaste, disobedient and independent. Fifty-eight percent of the victims that are killed are accused of being too western and or resisting or disobeying cultural or religious expectations. These sort of cases are surging at a vast rate especially throughout the western world, leaving experts, educators and activists with the urgency of educating the public about this sort of violence, and the search for resources for those who pose as victims.
The Price of Honor encourages the public to assist them with their campaign to create awareness about the issue and to even aid in restoring honor to Amina and Sarah Said by helping them catch their killer. It is a sad thing when we lose someone so vital and symbolized so much hope.  Amina and Sarah Said were smart, athletic, beautiful and determined to be free of their father and live happy lives. Observing from afar, you could not have known such evil existed at home. Their future resembled so much possibility. Maybe after all the hurt and pain, The Price Of Honor is that beacon of hope for women and girls around the world, as it aids in restoring honor and faith by shedding light on these violent traditions.

Visit Join the conversation at #catchyasernow and/or  #thepriceofhonor .
#catchyasernow: The Price Of Honor Film Campaign