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27 July 2011

Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement: VLF Partner and Calls for Papers

I am happy to announce that Viva la Feminista is now partnering with the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement. This means that I will be posting their calls for papers and conferences to help get the word out. I really admire the work that Dr. O'Reilly has done in bringing motherhood and mothering into academia. MIRCI publishes books (which I will be reviewing on a regular basis) as well as an academic journal (which I will also review).Today I'm only posting summaries of the CFPs for conferences and journals, but in the future, I will post the full CFP. So keep an eye out!

In order of the nearest deadline:
  1. Counting on Marilyn Waring [Full CFP]
    Co -Editors: Margunn Bjørnholt and Ailsa McKay
    Publication Date: 2013/2014

    This book will explore the impact, range and influence of Marilyn Waring’s work since the publication of her book If Women Counted. We encourage submissions that explore how Waring’s critical perspective on the system of national accounts has drawn attention to the nature and value of women’s work, and especially how that perspective has inspired activist groups in both community and global settings. Contributions from both a theoretical and practical, policy oriented, focus that highlight the impact on teaching, research and social/public policy interventions will be welcomed. The book will also include an interview with Waring.

    Submission Guidelines:
    Abstracts should be 250 words. Please also include a brief biography (50 words).
    Please send to margunn.bjornholt@gmail.com and a.mckay@gcu.ac.uk

    Deadline for Abstracts is August 30th, 2011

  2. Mother of Invention: How Our Mothers Influenced us as Feminist Academics and Activists [Full CFP]

    Co-editors: Vanessa Reimer and Sarah Sahagian

    Publication Date: 2014

    This anthology will bring together essays from feminist activists and academics alike. The goal of this anthology is to act as an antidote to matrophobia and mother-blaming by bringing together a variety of feminist narratives about how our mothers, intentionally or not, have influenced and inspired our feminist work and identities. The purpose of this book is to show mothers as a productive force in their children’s development. While not exclusively a celebration, this anthology will affirm mother work's importance.

    Submission Guidelines:
    Abstracts: 250 Words. Please include a brief biography (50 words) (and include citizenship information)

    Please send submissions to both Sarah.Sahagian@gmail.com and vreim018@yorku.ca
    Subject Line: Mother of Invention Abstract

    Deadline for Abstracts is September 15, 2011

  3. Mothers and Mothering in a Global Context [Full CFP]
    February 24-25th, 2012, Christ Church, Barbados
    This conference explores motherhood and mothering in a global context by highlighting the commonality and also the diversity in how mothers care for children and others across, and beyond, borders and cultures. We welcome submissions from researchers, students, activists, community workers, artists and writers and papers that explore the meaning and experience of motherhood in a global context from a all academic disciplines including but not limited to motherhood studies, anthropology, history, literature, popular culture, women’s studies, sociology, and that consider the theme across a wide range of maternal identities including racial, ethnic, regional, religious, national, social, cultural, political, and sexual. Cross-cultural perspectives on the subject matter are particularly welcome.

    Keynote Speakers TBA

    If you are interested in being considered as a presenter, please send a 250 word abstract and a 50-word bio by September 15th, 2011 to info@motherhoodinitiative.org

  4. Mothers and History: Histories of Motherhood [Full CFP]
    May 10-12, 2012, Toronto, ON, Canada

    We welcome submissions from scholars, students, artists, mothers and others who research in this area. Cross-cultural and comparative work is encouraged. We are open to a variety of types of submissions including academic papers from all disciplines and creative submissions.

    This conference will explore the nature, status and experience of mothers and motherhood in various historical, cultural and literary contexts, and examine the many ways in which mothers in different historical periods have been affected by, viewed, and/or challenged contemporary cultural norms and dominant ideologies regarding their role.

    If you are interested in being considered as a presenter, please send a 250 word abstract and a 50-word bio by September 15th, 2011 to info@motherhoodinitiative.org

  5. Other Mothers/Other Mothering [Full CFP]

    Editor: Angelita Reyes Publication Date: 2013

    Other mothers and other mothering roles may be found throughout history and across diverse cultures. Other mothers may be the paradigmatic first responders, the first-teachers of informal and formal learnings, or first care-givers for the formative triage years of children and youth. Other mothering denotes the continuity and contemporary practices of shared, communal, or assumed mothering responsibilities that are empowering and inclusive of social transformation. Despite the prevalence of this practice and increasing scholarship about other mothering, an edited collection on this important and central cultural paradigm does not yet exist. The aim of the present collection is to investigate the history, possibilities, differences, continuities, transformations, or advancements of other mothering, paying particular attention to liberating potentials of destabilizing patriarchal representations of motherhood and family structures. As interconnected and transnational cultures are in full swing into the 21st century, both men and women can perform and enable diverse and holistic roles of other mothering. How does other mothering transform the language implications of gender? How do we interrogate the roles of mothering for both women and men? This collection will explore the fluid, empowering and diversified roles of other mothering across cultures. Thus, of particular interest are submissions that interrogate other mothering from global perspectives, comparative ethnicities and historical contexts. The editor of this collection seeks article-length contributions in the humanities, cultural studies and social sciences that may include, but are not limited to the following topics:

    Submission guidelines:
    Abstracts should be 250 words. Please also include a CV.
    Deadline for abstracts: October 12, 2011

  6. Mothering in the Age of Neoliberalism [Full CFP]

    Editor: Melinda Vandenbeld Giles

    The term “neoliberal” has come to define our current global age, yet definitive understandings of what “neoliberal” means remains a contested terrain. In the past three decades, neoliberal economic/social ideology has created a global world governed by free-market principles. The purpose of this edited collection is to explore the meanings and effects of neoliberalism from the perspective of “mothers.” Arising from an inclusive and broad understanding of “mothering,” the intent of the collection is to compile diverse works from an assortment of geographical areas and interests pertaining to mothering and neoliberalism. For the purposes of this volume, neoliberalism is to be understood as a social as well as political/economic ethos whereby the free-market focus has come to infiltrate all aspects of society. The collection will focus on ethnographic (research-based) and theoretical submissions.

    Submission guidelines:
    Abstracts: 250 words. Please include a 50-word biography (with citizenship information.)

    Deadline for abstracts is November 1, 2011
    Please send submissions and inquiries directly to:
    Melinda Vandenbeld Giles: melinda.vandenbeldgiles@utoronto.ca

What I love about MIRCI is that they accept papers from activists. So no need to flash a PhD to get in the door. You just need some kick ass writing. Now, go! Write!

24 July 2011

Quick Thoughts on Utoya Island

It's not that I wasn't shocked when I heard about Oslo and the Utoya Island shootings. I was. But what shocked me the most was the news is that the terrorist (I don't want to use his name) targeted children at a summer camp. Not any children, but children whose parents are involved in the Labor Party.

When McVeigh blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City children died as well, but they were not targets. I vaguely remember someone saying they were collateral damage. But on Friday children were targeted.

I don't know how to verbalize my thoughts right now, except that I am obsessing about this twist. Yes, I know that terrorists in Afghanistan have used children, drug dealers in Chicago use children, but this targeting of children for a mass murder is something different. Perhaps because they were targets because of what their parents believe in, fight for and stand up to defend.

As a parent who does voice her opinion, stands up for her beliefs and fights for things that many people are offended by, this shit scares me. Part of me wants to run and hide. Give up. But I can't. I won't.

Or will I?

Review:: Pinocchio at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Thank you to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater for inviting me out to see their new production, Pinocchio. Last Saturday I took the kid (age almost-8) and one of her BFFs (age 8 1/2) to see the play. Quick review is that I liked it and the girls gave two thumbs up. They really did. I asked "How did you like it?" and they gave me two thumbs up. Don't be mad Ebert!

The performance was beautiful. The setting was beautiful, as were the puppets. The songs and music were lovely. The story moved fast, so there was little time for the kids to get bored. At least by the story. I think being 8 means being bored by the inability to move at one's choosing after 10 minutes. Thankfully I purchased some fruit snacks for the girls to keep them focused on something for awhile.

My only exposure to the tale of Pinocchio has been the Disney movie. This alternative, perhaps more authentic, telling of the story was far more bittersweet than I recalled. That made it more powerful too. It was also funnier due to the skills of the wonderful cast, especially Heidi Kettenring as Cat and Derek Hasenstab as Fox. On the way to drop off the kid's BFF, they were pretending to be Fox and Cat. The kid called Cat first. It's worth the price of admission for the few minutes Cat and Fox grace the stage. 

Melody Betts stole the show with her vocals and performance as the Blue Fairy. It's worth the price of admission to watch her try to teach Pinocchio what it means to be a human being. I wish I could say that the lessons will soak into our kids' brains, but we'll see.

Jump on over to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater's site to look up future dates and to purchase tickets.And you don't need to have kids to go see the show and have a great time.

Disclaimer: Just a reminder that I received comp tickets as I was invited out to view the performance by the CST.

21 July 2011

Birth Control Blog Carnival: The Pill's Role in Radicalizing Me at 12

I've told part of this story before in different venues and mentioned it here as well, but let me tell it again.

I think I was about twelve when I asked my mom why we don't go to Church (my family is Catholic) and she replied to me quite simply that it was because the Pope would not let her take the pill. Now, I already knew what birth control was because my mom left her pack on plain sight. Her statement about the Pope not only jump started my critique of the Church, but also began my education on how my body, women's bodies, are "controversial" and always a topic of debate.

Summer's Eve has a new campaign out to try to shame women into "cleaning up their vaginal area" by trying to sell us on the idea that women's vaginas have been the source of history. "Over the ages and throughout the world, men have fought for it..." says the ad. While the campaign and the ad are chock full of racism, misogyny and bad taste, they are right on one thing. Throughout the ages men have fought over our vaginas...and our whole reproductive system.

Just this week the Institute of Medicine recommended that birth control should be free on all insurance plans since so many women use it at one point in their lives. NPR points to the "divisive politics of birth control" as to why it's taken this long for the government to say we should include birth control in the health care reform. Really, NPR? Birth control should be a gimme, a no brainer. But no, there are people in this country, in this world, who want to control when a woman can or cannot get pregnant.

The war for vaginas, Summer's Eve, is about control of vaginas, not some romantic fantasy you are trying to sell with your deodorizing towelettes.

Which is one reason (the other is that I take my pill as I'm about to walk out the door each morning) my almost-8yo (!!) daughter knows about birth control. She knows that some women take medicine in order not to get pregnant. I have told her since she was born (yes, I talked like this to my infant) that her body is hers. I'd rub her belly and get all squee about how all her tiny eggs are already there, just waiting. I've told her that she can have babies or not when she's older...way older. No pressure from old mom on the baby front. And yes, remind me I said that if I ever get all "But I wanna grandbaby!" on her.

It amazes me how much time women spend trying to NOT get pregnant. I've been menstruating for twenty five years and out of which, only three months have I wanted to get pregnant. I know, my eggs are efficient suckers. That means for 99% of my reproductive years, I've been avoiding the actual reproduction. And I'm sure I have another 5-10 years (maybe even more as I am Latina and all) left to go. I've been fortunate enough to be able to either pay for my pills or be supplied with "samples" over those years.

So let's hear it for birth control! GOOOOO BIRTH CONTROL! Thanks for helping me plan my family, my life and my career. Hopefully one day the kid will ask me, "Really? You actually had to pay for birth control? REALLY?!" 

This post is part of the "We've Got You Covered" birth control blog carnival (#bcbc). Click over to read other posts. 

20 July 2011

Summer of Feminista: When we are all experts, everyone's voice is heard

My name is Mala and I am an expert in Mami’hood because it is where I live, work, struggle, survive and thrive and have for the last 14 years.

I dislike the word intellectual as much as I dislike the word feminist. It’s not that I am against intelligence, study, engagement, learning, or teaching just like I am not against equal rights and access to all women. I am against the way the word intellectual has been co-opted to mean one thing to the exclusion of many just as feminism has been. There is no such single definition of an intellectual. Who and what an intellectual, especially in the context of the United States has been dependent on what point of history we find ourselves in and what is the most regarded value. Is an intellectual a scholar? A person who has spent years inside universities with no experience in the real world? Is it someone who conducts research within the real world but forever maintains a safe distance between us and them, the classic anthropologist if you will? Is it someone with a foot firmly planted in each world or would someone who has little formal schooling qualify just as well? With this in mind, and using the same sort of questioning, what does it mean to have A Latina public intellectual and if we need A public Latina intellectual?

Just as there is a struggle to name a Latina leader, the trouble with attempting to find a Latina intellectual is that it assumes that there is one Latina experience. Latinidad, as I define it, as a shared history rooted in colonialism and survival across the Americas, has many faces. To ask for one Latina intellectual is to engage in simplistic demands for a cult of personality – a figure to rally around and behind and perhaps even hide behind as the defining example of what we as Latinas are supposed to be. Hell, many of us can’t even agree to use the word Latina. Some use Hispanic, others hyphenated Americans, others are rooted in their regions, and some a hybrid of all of the above. If we cannot and do not share a common vocabulary – hell we don’t even share a common language really - how can we expect to have one common intellectual or expert among us?

While we all wait for one leader to be baptized, one thought queen to be crowned, there are many unsung members across communities reclaiming and redefining Latin@ experiences across the diaspora. This means elevating the work that has been pushed into the casitas and alleys, the work of the mami, the puta, the poeta, and of course the mami puta poeta. There is knowledge within pockets of our communities that was never meant to be shared – put into words. I am thinking of the power between the fingertips of curanderas, healers, and matronas, weavers, painters, scribes who have no sense or need for letters. There are intellectuals – people who know- all around us : your lover, your hija, your ti@, your vecina, that lady who sells ice cream on the corner, y tu mama tambien.

My name is Mala, I am an expert in my vida as you are an expert in yours. I share my knowledge and with my hij@s my herman@s – biological and chosen. Sometimes through words, sometimes, action, sometimes through silence. Choose your mediums, your methods. Choose your movement(s).

Summer of Feminista 2011 is a project where Latinas are sharing their thoughts on Latinas as Public Intellectuals. Liberal. Conservative. Academic statements. Personal stories. Learn more or how you can join the Summer of Feminista. This is a project of Viva la Feminista. Link and quote, but do not repost without written permission.

19 July 2011

Summer of Feminista: Don't call me a groupie! Women in the music biz

My name is Martha Carolona Preciado and I am an expert in progressive political grassroots movements pertaining to Latina women because of my involvement and political ideals.

How are you embracing/could you embrace the role of public intellectual?

Before music there was politics. I was completely involved in progressive grassroots movements for Latinas as the chair of La Coalición for a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. addressing the needs of the Chicano/Latino/Hispanic community.

Now with my involvement in the music industry I have faced objectification and demeaning attitudes towards women in the industry. A continuous derogatory viewpoint, the concept of "groupie". I constantly encounter negative comments of my presence backstage of a show or my friendships with males in bands thus having to validate my work and is some ridicule manner apologize for being a woman. "She must be a groupie", as a response to my presence and overlooking my talent and capability; solemnly focusing on the sexual objectification of my gender.

The music industry is a male-dominated field creating an overwhelming disparity between men and women. Furthermore, unlikely to practice gender equity due to the assumptions and gender roles. I am a woman, I am Latina however there shall be no negative assumption of my talent or scrutinize my capabilities due my gender or cultural background. On the contrary, I embrace my gender and culture and I am proud to be a young Latina thriving in my work. As a woman, I strongly believe I embrace the role of a public intellectual by empowering women to break the glass ceiling and diminish stereotypes which limit our mobility in any workforce. In any of our fields, we must break any stereotype and generalization of our work. It is imperative to continue embracing our passions and close the gap in gender dichotomy. We need more women to exercise their professions without the need to prove themselves continuously. We too are capable, we too are talented. We are women who do not fear deeply-rooted stereotypes in our society. It is in our hands to demolish closed-minded perceptions and thrive in our professions.

Summer of Feminista 2011 is a project where Latinas are sharing their thoughts on Latinas as Public Intellectuals. Liberal. Conservative. Academic statements. Personal stories. Learn more or how you can join the Summer of Feminista. This is a project of Viva la Feminista. Link and quote, but do not repost without written permission.

14 July 2011

Summer of Feminista: Practicing activism in our own lives

My name is Becky and I am an expert in breaking down socially constructed barriers of race, class, gender, and sexuality because of my hands on activist work, encouraging and educating people on how to love and know and advocate for themselves.

Should there be a stand out Latina public intellectual? Or do we need a group of Latina public intellectuals? Or none at all?

This summer, I attended Feminist Summer Camp with Soapbox Inc. The essence of this program was meeting fellow feminists and hearing their grassroots stories-- from the spark of an idea, to obstacles and challenges met, to networking and being resourceful. I learned that everyone starts from a place, and that there is never ending, unforeseen growth in the work that we set out to do. Although I have heard this message before, it is important for me to be reminded and to hear it from a community of people to whom I can relate.

This message is an important lesson in every aspect of life, as it does not just pertain to being a public activist. We have to learn to practice activism in our own lives, which I believe is a particularly deeply rooted shortfall within the Latin community as far as valuing and encouraging personal activism. Strong culturally constructed barriers leave Latinas to consider ourselves last, from our health to our personal intellect. From this extends the shortfall of self-proclaimed leaders to offer mentorship, encouragement, and set examples for our community. This leadership goes for anything, from helping to fill out medicaid papers to taking the forefront in leading edge biochemical engineering research, which is why YES, there most definitely needs to be a diverse group of Latina public intellectuals who are proud to define their personal area of expertise.

Becky is a rising junior studying Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies & Pre-Medicine

Summer of Feminista 2011 is a project where Latinas are sharing their thoughts on Latinas as Public Intellectuals. Liberal. Conservative. Academic statements. Personal stories. Learn more or how you can join the Summer of Feminista. This is a project of Viva la Feminista. Link and quote, but do not repost without written permission.

12 July 2011

Summer of Feminista: Growing into the role of public intellectual

My name is Marcela Christina Musgrove-Chavez and I am an expert in  medical informatics because that's what I'm studying in graduate school.

* Do you know a Latina who could be or should be recognized as a  public intellectual?

My first thought was Maria Hinojosa who's a pretty well known  journalist with her own new show. I would think Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court justice would be recognized since her  background seems very impressive, but since her confirmation we don't seem to have heard much from her.

* How are you embracing/could you embrace the role of public intellectual?

I've backed off from the idea of going into academia since I left a  PhD program. But being on twitter I've become active enough in posting that I've become recognized as part of the health community, which  offers a different and more comfortable way of being a "public intellectual".

Summer of Feminista 2011 is a project where Latinas are sharing their thoughts on Latinas as Public Intellectuals. Liberal. Conservative. Academic statements. Personal stories. Learn more or how you can join the Summer of Feminista. This is a project of Viva la Feminista. Link and quote, but do not repost without written permission.

11 July 2011

Other things I've written...but not here

Woohoo! It's another post about stuff I've written for other blogs.

First up is a piece I did for Gapers Block last month on the Chicago Bandits and the grand opening of their stadium:
Opening night for the Chicago Bandits, Chicago's professional softball team, was a pitchers' duel between Bandit Monica Abbott and the USSSA Pride's Danielle Lawrie. After a picture perfect first inning, an errant throw by Abbott in the second led to the Pride getting on base. Thankfully she was saved by a clinic-worthy cutoff throw to home to keep the game scoreless. The duel resumed and continued until the bottom of the seventh, when the Bandits skillfully moved Megan Wiggins, who led off the inning, around the bases, capped off with Caitlin Lever's shot to right field to bring Wiggins home. The crowd erupted in a roar to signal the end of the game. [read the rest at Gapers Block]

Second is a bit of an op-ed I write for Gapers Block about the Chicago Red Stars shortened home season:
Women's professional sports has a long history of ups and downs. Women's professional soccer reached its peak in 2000 by riding the wave of Mia Hamm fever and the USA team winning the World Cup in sports bra-baring style. But then the fans did not show up and the Women's United Soccer Association folded in 2003. In 2009, the Women's Professional Soccer League opened shop with a Chicago franchise, the Chicago Red Stars, and played at the beautiful Toyota Park in Bridgeview. They fielded all-star players like Illinoisan Ella Masar and Brazil's Cristiane.[read the rest at Gapers Block]

And no, Andrew hasn't totally roped me into being on staff at Gapers Block. But I am joining their softball team.

Lastly, I wrote a ranty lil piece for Chicagonista on women and unions. I'm sure that one will "haunt" me in the future. But ya know what? I stand by that piece. And hopefully my future self will too.
Late last week, the Mayor said that the city workers union had to come up with contract concessions by July 1st or risk hundreds of layoffs. The current contract was signed by former Mayor Daley and built upon the idea that furlough days would continue and Mayor Emanuel does not want to continue them. And that means real money needs to be cut and by last Friday.

So why am I saying that this is a way on the working women of Chicago?

Think about it. Who are the bulk of Chicago teachers? Women. Women make up 60% of local employees*. When we get to state employees, it is 50.7% of workers, which makes Governor Quinn’s refusal to pay raises important to this state’s women…and as we know, when women are shortchanged, families are shortchanged. [read the whole piece at Chicagonista]
 I'm scheduled for a piece at Girl w/Pen soon, so head over there too.

09 July 2011

Book Review:: Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield

Sophie Littlefield has worked her way onto my list of favorite authors. Last year I read A Bad Day for Pretty and was impressed with her story telling and the strong lead character Stella. Quick disclosure, while Littlefield links to my review from last year and I'm blurbed in the praise section of Aftertime, I had no idea when I agreed to review the book. I did however know this while reading the book.

Littlefield does not waste time setting up Aftertime, she throws you right into a dystopian California sometime in the not-to-far future as our protagonist, Cass, tries to piece together what the hell just happened to her. Cass quickly realizes that she use to be a zombie! But that is the least of her worries. Cass needs to begin the long journey to her hometown in search of her daughter. The daughter she had just reunited with her before the whole zombie thing.

As a recovered zombie, Cass presents to other humans as an infected human who will soon become a zombie or someone who is being abused or cutting herself. These assumptions force Cass to come to grip with her past life as an abused young woman who did put herself into situations where she allowed men to continue to "punish" her. This is how she first lost her daughter.

Cass is a deeply flawed character and while not as strong as Littlefield's Stella, I want to believe she is trying her best to be strong. She relies, I think too much, on Smoke, a cowboyish character who is still a mystery by the end of the book.

But the story will suck you in and despite any flaws in the characters, you will be desperate to know if Cass finds her daughter or not. There is a sequel and I knew this, so I kept thinking up until the very end, will she or won't she? And of course, now I need to get my grubby hands on the sequel.

Love zombies? Love stories of redemption? Love stories of mom's searching for their children? Just love dystopian fiction? Then get yourself a copy from IndieBound or Powells. 

Disclaimer: A publicist offered me a copy of "Aftertime" because I had enjoyed "Pretty" last year. He said he thought I'd like it. He was right. 

* Book links are affiliate links. If you buy your book here I could make a very small amount of money that goes towards this blog.

07 July 2011

Many thanks to Planned Parenthood

I don't know where to start this post.

The attacks on Planned Parenthood are based on hate and fear of women. That just has to be the reason. There is no other reason for anyone to be opposed to Planned Parenthood. I do not understand the hate and fear of women being in control of their bodies, of making choices, except to believe that those who oppose Planned Parenthood want to be the ones in control themselves.

When I set off to college, I quickly found myself in a Planned Parenthood seeking out birth control. While my mom could have provided me with free access to the practice she was a nurse at, I knew I needed my own place. A speculum of my own, so to speak. But really it was the privacy. I mean, really, Mom? You wanted me to get my feet up in the stirrups in an office where I knew you had full access to? Oh you.

Ironically though, when I was without any insurance, I did take you up on that offer. But at 22, it was a different world than when I was 18. OK, back to Planned Parenthood...

I had the sweetest woman as my provider for a few years. She talked to me honestly and helped me learn more about how my body worked and how to take care of it. She taught me how to take the pill so it was the most effective. The packs were $10 a pop. As a poor college student, I often found myself at the clinic every month buying a pack at a time. If things were going well (aka got extra hours at the shoe store), I might splurge on two packs at a time! WOOHOO!

I sometimes hear women complain about having to go to their annual gyn exam and I have to wonder if they just happened to have had a poor first experience. While it's not my favorite thing in the world, I do not feel like I complain the same way I hear other women. And for that, I thank that sweet women, whose name I have forgotten, for showing me that getting a pap smear isn't the worst thing in the world.

After I left Planned Parenthood for the free services of my mom's clinic, I signed up to be a volunteer at Planned Parenthood. First I signed up for street fairs so I could hand out condoms and dental dams to my fellow Chicagoans. I really liked talking to other young people about the services they could receive. If only I didn't hate blood and needles, I think I could had been a great OBGYN or midwife. I moved to client services in the same clinic I once visited monthly for pills. I helped with client intake, checking them in, making sure all the paperwork was read, signed and understood.

I was the cheery face that welcomed scared teens and confused women. I still remember this one girl, perhaps 17, that asked me a million times if there was any way her mom would ever find out she was at the clinic. And I worked non-abortion days. Every person I welcomed was there for an annual exam, birth control, STD or HIV test. There were some who were there for their post-abortion exam. I think they were the least scared.

Going from client to volunteer was one of the most profound transitions and learning experiences of my life. It was empowering to go from scared teen to advocate. It was amazing to have the ability to calm fears either with a simple smile or my actual words.

In 2007, I was asked to take my first blogging job for Planned Parenthood Illinois. It was just for one month, but I was asked to handle the social media outreach while PP staff handled the opening of a new clinic in suburban Chicago. It was an honor. And another educational experience. It also pushed me from being a kinda anonymous blogger who was scared to put my name on posts about abortion out of fear, to being the blogger for Planned Parenthood. If staff could come to work in a clinic with people yelling at them day in and day out, I could stand up with my name.

So today, as many bloggers take to the interwebs with their stories of Planned Parenthood, I join them to thank them for many lessons.

Thank you for teaching me about my body.
Thank you for such comfortable experiences that I don't fear my OBGYN.
Thank you for being a safe place for scared women, no matter their age.
Thank you for teaching me what being pro-choice is really about.
Thank you for helping me stay child-free throughout college.
Thank you for trusting in me when you needed an advocate.
Thank you for showing me courage in action. 
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Head on over to the carnival home to read other stories.

01 July 2011

ACTION: "My Planned Parenthood" Blog Carnival

From: whattamisaid.com:

Please join What Tami Said and Shakesville for “My Planned Parenthood,” a blog carnival devoted to sharing the stories of the women and men helped by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and other Planned Parenthood branches.

Share your personal story of being helped by Planned Parenthood of Indiana or Planned Parenthood in another state. Link your story to why it is important that the organization continue to thrive. We are particularly interested in the stories of Indiana residents, but welcome other bloggers to take part. Planned Parenthood is under attack in states throughout the country, including Kansas, North Carolina and Wisconsin. We need to hear ALL voices.

All posts should be scheduled to publish by 9 a.m. Eastern, Thursday, July 7.


  • Spread the word about this blog carnival through your blog, word of mouth and social media. On Twitter, use hashtag #MyPP. Post the My Planned Parenthood graphic on your blog and link it to this announcement. (See code below.)
  • Email whattamisaid@gmail.com or melissa.mcewan@hotmail.com with your intention to participate. Include the name of your blog and it’s URL.
  • Write your post. We may ask you to include a .jpg carnival graphic with information on how to support Planned Parenthood in your post.
  • Schedule your post to publish by 9 a.m. Eastern, Thursday, July 7. If you can, send a direct link to your post to one of the email addresses above before July 7. What Tami Said and Shakesville will publish the names and links to all participating blogs in a stub post on July 7.
  • Continue to spread the word and direct people to blog carnival posts.


This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.

What I'm Currently Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces

Veronica's favorite books »
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