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Showing posts from July, 2013

Summer of Feminista: Learning from the Gray

Michelle is a crunchy, Xicana, feminist, mama, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who writes at when she’s done wrangling a toddler, a puppy, and five chickens, seeing patients, and renovating her house- which is to say, almost never. I struggle with mentoring. Not as a concept, I happen to think it’s a great idea. My struggle is more in my personal experience. I haven’t had the type of mentors I expected or imagined I would. And I definitely haven’t had the kind I’ve read about or seen in movies. When I look back at my life, I know I would not be where I am today without the guidance and support of some very key people. People like my cousin Ramon, who inspired this little Mexican girl to look beyond our agricultural town. He encouraged me to write stories, read books, and by being the first person in our family to attend college, planted the seed that my life could be more than getting married after high school and finding a good factory jo

Stuff I've written that's been posted elsewhere...

Just a quick note to point out two pieces that I wrote for other sites that perhaps you missed... 1) I interviewed US Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius while she was in town for Blogher '13: This week a little boy was born in London . One day he will grow up to be the King of England. This week a little boy was born in Chicago. Who knows what he will grow up to be. One thing we do know is that the future king’s birth most likely cost half as much as baby boy Chicago.    The state and cost of health care in the USA is why the Affordable Care Act is an important piece of legislation. I am unsure if the cost of health care will go down under Obamacare (I hear it won’t), but we do know that everyone will be mandated to have insurance. This, hopefully, should put health care in the affordable category for most of us. But will it help minimize health disparities in the US? This is what I asked Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebe

Summer of Feminista: Building a Circle of Mentors

Rosie Molinary is the author of Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina and Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.  I’ve been thinking a lot about mentors lately. I am turning 40 this year and it has me reflecting about the people who have had an impact on my life. In fact, as part of that reflection process, I am writing thank you notes to all those people, many of whom were mentors to me when I was young. As I look at my thank you note list, I am struck by all the people who cared for me and offered me their wisdom and spirit as I came of age and grew into a young professional. They are women and men from all walks of life who saw something in me and took the time to help me be better so I could radiate out. That people invested their finite amount of energy into me, that I was part of how they lived their purpose in this world, is humbling and it makes me infinitely aware that I have that same responsibility. Five years ago, my

#NineforIX Interview with Christine Brennan

This summer espnW is celebrating Title IX, the federal law that has provided girls and women access to athletic programs, with nine films. One film, " Let Them Wear Towels, " which premiered July 16, documented the rise of the woman sports journalist and their biggest hurdle to success -- the locker room. Today we don't bat an eye to see journalists, like NBC Chicago's Peggy Kusinski , grab an athlete right after the game and pepper them with questions. Sometimes she's in the locker room, sometimes she's on the sideline. She goes where she needs to get the story. And that is exactly why in the 1970s and '80s women sports journalists fought to gain access to the sweatiest and grossest place in sports. Earlier this year, WBEZ's Cheryl Raye Stout proclaimed her gratitude to former Chicago Bear Jim Harbaugh for questioning the policy to not let women into locker rooms. If we had to rank the feminist battles of the 20th Century, and some people like to

Summer of Feminista: A Good Mentor Is Nurturing, Tough and Lets You Have a Good Cry

Elisa Batista is a campaign associate with , a national family advocacy organization with over a million members. She is proud to say that she has not cried on the job in at least two years. I dedicate this blog post to the best mentors anyone could ask for: Markos Moulitsas, Yawu Miller, Jack Sullivan, and Mary Olivella. I was 20 years old and sleeping in my then-boyfriend, now-husband Markos’s apartment in Boston. Like the SWAT team, he entered the bedroom, dropped a stack of weekly newspapers onto the bed, and said the following: “If you want to be a journalist, then write.” Over the last 16 years, he has proven to be not only the best life partner anyone could ask for, but also one of the best professional mentors I have ever had. He has offered his brutal honesty of my skills – even if it caused me to shed some tears! – edited my resumes, cheered me on as I attained prestigious writing positions, and let me flounder until I found my way again. An example

EVENT: Viva la Feminista on COLD News

There's a new show in Chicago! COLD News is a new show premiering its first season this July. The show will run July 20th, 27th, and August 3rd Saturdays at 10pm at Studio BE (3110 N Sheffield). I'll be on the July 27th show! And to help encourage you to come out and attend, use the code "Veronica" to get half off your ticket ! Make sure to select July 27th. This should be a fun event. And I hope some Blogher folks will decide to take an adventure off campus to see more of Chicago! More about the show: The show is the first of its kind in Chicago, a local live news show all about what's happening here in Chicago with interviews from some of the most informed people in town. It will feature three reporters (comedians) doing independent segments about local events and what's happening around town! Due to FCC regulations, they cannot divulge the extent of our lovely sponsor's generosity, but Powell Brew House will be in attendance for every sh

What minors need to know about Illinois' Parental Notification law regarding abortion services

Starting August 15, 2013, minors seeking abortion services will need to either notify their parents/guardians or obtain a judicial bypass. And there is help for this! Young women in need of their sevices can contact them: Call toll free: 877.44BYPASS Call or text: 312.560.6607 Email:  Additional resources can be found on their website too. Y en Espanol, tambien! PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS LAW IS NOT IN EFFECT UNTIL AUGUST 15, 2013!

Review: "Let Them Wear Towels" a film by #NineforIX

This week's installment of espnW's Nine for IX documentary series is, "Let Them Wear Towels," the story of a small group of pioneering women sports reporters who dared to enter the locker room. How bad was it when women decided they too wanted to report on the goings on in sports? My childhood hero, Dave Kingman once threw buckets of water on Jane Gross and cussed her out. Hey, I wasn't even four when he came to Chicago to play for my Cubbies, so I forgive myself. Then there was a time when a hockey player lifted & escorted out another woman reporter. The old boys club was still located in the locker room, so most men in sports did what they could to maintain that power differential. Consider what a sports reporter has to accomplish in their daily reports and you can see where the power struggle fits in. If a player blows a save in the ninth inning (something us Cubs fans are far too familiar with), you have to ask what happened. And that asking usu

Summer of Feminista: On second thought, Latinas have a lot to learn from Sheryl Sandberg

Amanda Reyes is a reproductive justice activist and a History of Consciousness doctoral student at the University of California Santa Cruz.  When I first saw Sheryl Sandberg’s TEDWomen talk, “Why we have too few women leaders,” I wasn’t very impressed. It felt like the same kind of talk I’d heard from successful white heterosexual cisgender women a thousand times before. You know, the kind of advice that’s useful if you don’t have to battle systemic racism, heterosexism, classism, transphobia, ableism, or any type of discrimination other than that based on sex. However, Sandberg’s book, which offers an extension of the advice she gives in her talk, ended up teaching me more than I ever thought it would. Though the advice is based on what Sandberg has learned in the corporate world, I believe that it has much to teach Latina leaders. I don’t have to rehearse statistics for you to know that there are very few women leaders in the world and that the number of American Latina leade

Soledad O'Brien wants you at #OfficeHours

Viva la Feminista is happy to participate in today's Office Hours event with broadcast pro, Soledad O'Brien at 2pm ET/11am PT. This is your chance to ask Soledad a question about your career! She'll be sharing her own career advice.  And you can watch it all right here at Viva la Feminista. I thought this would fit right in with our Summer of Feminista theme!  So what are you going to ask? About Soledad O'Brien, Award Winning Journalist, Documentarian, News Anchor and Producer Soledad O'Brien is an award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer. O’Brien was the originator of “Black in America” and “Latino in America”. In June she launched Starfish Media Group, a multiplatform media production and distribution company, dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity through personal stories. Starfish Media Group continues to pr

Summer of Feminista: Looking back at my mentors

Dianna Manjarrez is a working mom and public health professional.  She works in Chicago in HIV prevention with Latino communities. Who has been your most helpful mentor? I’ve had many mentors throughout my life, for different parts of my life. Some of them didn’t know they were my mentors because I didn’t refer to them with that title. They might have been friends, or teachers, or counselors, or just an interested staff at school. The earliest memory I have of a mentor is a teacher in middle school who took some time out of her schedule to connect with me and give me some dating advice, I didn’t date in middle school, I just had a crush on one of the students. I was in an ESL class at that time and my teacher was not Latina, but I welcomed her concern for me. Later on in high school my mentors were usually my teachers, that one teacher that took the time to get to know me better, and encourage me, and believed in me. One of them was my English teacher, Mr. Barry Grimes. Mr. Gr

Interview with Tylan of Girlyman

Did you know that Tylan of Girlyman has a solo CD, One True Thing ? Well, you probably do because her Kickstarter was a smashing success! I was lucky to chat with Tylan about this and much more. Viva la Feminista: You were recently in Chicago to play at Space (actually in Evanson). How was the show? Tylan: The show was amazing. It was honestly one of the best shows on the tour. The place was packed with love and support. VLF : Who are your musical influences? Tylan : I like really great songwriters. Paul Simon was the first one I obsessed over. Springsteen, Patty Giffin, Indigo Girls....and a lot of my peers who are not famous, but are playing shows and writing great music. VLF : So...pick one act who most of us don't know about, but should? Tylan : Oh, don't make me choose! (long pause...Jeopardy music....). Coyote Grace is a trio, and yea, my partner is in the act. But really, they are so talented. Their songwriting is so good and performances are so exciti

What does your handwriting say about you?

I get a lot of infographics to share with all of you. Mostly women's rights one that link back to some totally unrelated business. But this infographic is neither! As someone who is obsessed with finding the perfect pen , it's a lot of fun.

Summer of Feminista: The Importance of Multiple Mentors

Raquel is a Latina feminist, multimedia journalist, social media strategist and soon-to-be NYU MA student, where she'll be studying new media and women's studies.  Mentoring is important for any young woman trying to build her name in the professional world; but with language barriers and cultural differences, the need and difficulty in finding a suitable mentor for Latinas is often greater. Can this non-Latino professor offer me the insight I need as a woman of color? Can the sole Latina academic adviser provide me with the specialized information I need for my discipline? Chances are, neither of these people will wholly fill the role. As a 22-year-old Latina trying to make my way into news media, finding a mentor has been rough. According to a study by ASNE, Latinos made up 4 percent of newsroom personnel at all daily English-language newspapers in 2004, while a study from RTDNA shows that they secured just 6 percent of all staff positions at English-language TV ne

Book Review: New Girl Law by Anne Elizabeth Moore

Have you ever read a book that when you finish you can still feel it swishing around in your brain? Yeah, New Girl Law: Drafting a Future for Cambodia by Anne Elizabeth Moore is that type of book.  In the annals of Western feminists traveling to developing countries in an effort to empower, few tales are as truly feminist as Moore’s work in Cambodia. And while I say that as a friend of hers, I would say otherwise if I thought she was being imperialistic, as she is just as quick to critique friends’ work as a complete stranger. She would expect the same in return. This time, it is not the case. In New Girl Law , the follow-up to Cambodian Grrrl , Moore is working with her Cambodian roommates to rewrite, Chbap Srei, a book that has set up expectations for girls for generations. Considering that Moore was living with some of the first Cambodian young women to live in a college dormitory there were traditional expectations  constantly being broken. “Empowering non-Western women” i

Review: Venus Vs. - A #NineforIX Film by Ava DuVernay

Venus Vs. Premiere Date | July 2nd at 8:00PM ET on ESPN People, pop the popcorn, grab your sodas and get comfy because "Venus Vs." is a must watch film. And no, you don't have to be a sports fan. Let me tell you why. I love tennis, but I don't follow it very closely. When the Williams sisters arrived on the tennis scene, I fell in love. They were brassy and definitely not "country club" players. In Serena William's memoir , she discussed some of the racism that the sisters have experienced at the professional level. In "Venus Vs." this racism is addressed via the infamous "hair bead" situation and other incidents. But most of this film focuses on Venus' decision to take on the decades long battle to obtain equal prize money for women players at Wimbledon. When Billie Jean King won Wimboldon in 1968, her prize money was equal to 37% of the men's pay package. In 2005, Venus joins the off-and-on fight for equal money. And