Celebrating Women’s History Month
It’s Women’s History Month and I want to celebrate. Here’s a start: Michigan’s Executive Branch is helmed by three extraordinary women: Gretchen Whitmer, Jocelyn Benson, and Dana Nessel. Our Democratic State House and Senate delegations are majority women. Sen. Winnie Brinks (SD49) is the first woman to serve as our Senate Majority Leader. This ascendance of progressive women in charge in Lansing is an exciting, hugely welcome sea change. Further, the Michigan Democratic Party and the State Board of Education are headed by women of color – Lavora Barnes and Dr. Pamela Pugh, respectively. The Vice President of the United States, for the first time in our history, is a woman of color. The artist holding the most Grammy awards of all time is the incomparable Beyoncé. Women are kicking it in all spheres.
And yet: In 2022, women were paid, on average, 83% of what men were paid. But that’s just the average: Black women were paid 64% and Hispanic women of any race were paid 57% of what white non-Hispanic men were paid. During the Covid pandemic, women left work in droves to provide (free) caregiving for others, and many have not yet been able to return to the workforce.
This pay differential ripples through the life course, resulting in women’s having, on average, 30% to 50% lower retirement savings and Social Security benefits than men.
Financial insecurity = physical insecurity – and not just in terms of hunger, housing, and stress-related illness. Women facing financial instability are far more likely to stay in abusive relationships than financially secure peers. Domestic violence rose an estimated 8% during the pandemic and has yet to subside. Femicide – defined as the killing of females by males because they are female – increased 24% in the U.S. between 2014 and 2020. The World Health Organization states that violence against women is an international public health crisis, affecting at least 1 in 3 women globally. That figure holds true for the U.S.
The point of bringing up these horrifying statistics is not to diminish or distract from the triumphs of women, now or historically. The point is to put those triumphs in context. It’s easy to feel that “National Women’s History Month” is passé in 2023. Who needs it? Well, in fact, we all do. The achievements racked up by progressive women politicians, artists, scientists, authors, lawyers, social workers, therapists, teachers, leaders of all stripes, and everyday heroes who provide the large majority of unpaid or low-wage caregiving in the U.S. are won despite hostile–forces we’re so inured to we’re in danger of dismissing them.
Let’s support each other by recognizing what we and our dear women friends, family members, mentors, and teachers have achieved, and echo Ruth Bader Ginsberg – herself echoing 19th-century abolitionist Sarah Grimké – when she intoned to the U.S. Supreme Court, “I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”
I’ll have more Women’s History Month thoughts in the coming issues. Please send me yours at email@example.com.
–Theresa Reid, Chair, WCDP
March 4th Meeting — This Saturday
We’re trying a hybrid in-person and Zoom meeting this month. For the in-person crowd, we’ll be meeting at our old stomping grounds, the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center where, at this time, masks are optional. Details on both options below.
March 4th Meeting Update:
Saturday’s meeting is no longer hybrid and will be online due to the snow forecast (9 inches).
The agenda remains the same.
The Housing and Homelessness Crisis in Washtenaw County
There has been a significant spike in people experiencing homelessness in Washtenaw County this winter, especially families who cannot find housing. Local housing and homelessness service providers and others involved with the crisis will inform us about the impact of the lack of housing on the most vulnerable in our community, and its negative effects for education, business, health care systems, and so many other aspects of life across the county. We’ll learn more about what we can do about it. Read more on MLive.
We’ll also be joined by elected representatives for conversation and Q&A about legislative work in Lansing and in the County Board of Commissioners.
9:15 – 9:45.— Social hour
9:45 – 10:45 — Organization business and Conversations with our Legislators
- U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, with updates on business in D.C., including her bill to protect domestic violence survivors from gun violence.
- Rep. Carrie Rheingans, on proposed legislation for Michigan to join the National Popular Vote Initiative
- State Rep. Jason Morgan (HD23) and State Senator Sue Shink (SD14) will discuss the package of gun violence prevention bills introduced in the last
- Senator Jeff Irwin, Chair, Housing and Human Services Committee, will speak to Democratic legislative action on the homelessness crisis.
10:45 – 12:00 — Homelessness Program & Panel
- Judge Cedric Simpson
- County Commissioner Andy LaBarre
- Amanda Carlisle, Executive Director of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance,
- Aubrey Patiño Executive Director Avalon Housing
- Morghan Boydston, Human Services Manager, OCED/Office of Community and Economic Development.
Attend in person
The Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center (LRC) is at 4135 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, 48108. The LRC is part of the Sheriff’s office complex. The most visible landmark from Washtenaw is St. Luke’s church, which shares a driveway with the LRC, immediately west of the church.
Attend via Zoom:
Join the meeting through Zoom beginning at 9:45: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87406086300
Meeting ID: 874 0608 6300
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WCDP County Committee Meeting March 8th
WCDP County Committee – Quarterly Meeting March 8, 7:00 pm
The WCPD County Committee will meet on March 8, 2023, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, via Zoom. All members are welcome to attend; only members of the County Committee may vote.
The agenda will include an update about the Executive Board’s strategic planning process, introduction of newly stated vision and mission statements, election of 2 officers, and new business presented by WCDP members. Per WCDP’s bylaws, the meeting will be run according to Robert’s Rules of Order. If you would like to introduce an agenda item, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1.
Join the March 8 County Committee meeting by Zoom here or by dialing in:
Meeting ID: 831 5508 6933
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Send Us Your Ideas!
The Program Committee wants to make sure we cover topics of high interest to members in our monthly membership meetings, which are typically held on first Saturdays, 9:30 – noon. Do you have ideas? Please use this form to share them with us! And thank you.
Public Hearing & Comment Period for Washtenaw County HOME-ARP Funding!
Washtenaw County is seeking input from community members on how to spend funds to address homelessness. The County received roughly $4.6 million in ARPA funding. For more information, visit the Washtenaw County website.
To observe or participate in the public hearing, join by Zoom:
Meeting ID: 879 6832 2745
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3rd Annual Louis Nagel Concert
April 23, 2023
Sunday, April 23, 2023 at 4pm
Join fellow Democrats for a benefit performance for the Washtenaw County Democratic Party by highly acclaimed concert pianist Louis Nagel featuring music by Beethoven. Includes a special introduction by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.
Attend in person at the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, or virtually by Zoom. For those who attend in person, light refreshments will follow the performance. Tickets are on sale now.
2023 Winter Connect & Act March 4th
2023 Winter Connect & Act will start with a session at noon to ground participants in their bodies and connect with their intention to build toward non-violence. After a brief welcome, everyone will move into skill-building sessions on compassionate listening, conflict resolution, storytelling as an organizing tool, and basic facilitation skills and tools for difficult conversations. After these introductory skill-building sessions, community members will have the opportunity to join discussions and intentionally practice using tools to listen, respond, and act with empathy, understanding, and an open heart.
ICPJ hopes participants will use these skills for future Compassionate Community Conversations across Washtenaw County and beyond. ICPJ will support local congregations, neighborhood groups, and others with additional trainings and capacity-building support to organize, host, or facilitate future conversations.
When: Saturday, March 4, 2023, noon – 6 pm
Where: Zion Lutheran Church, 1501 W Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, The Ride Route 29
Learn more and register here:
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