Texas is a very supportive state…if you’re heterosexual. But if you’re not, the Republican-led Texas legislature supports some very strong policies against you.
One such bill that passed this session allows faith-based, child-welfare service providers that contract with the state to refuse LGBTQ parents from providing a safe and loving home for thousands of kids. Siting religious belief is not only a form of discrimination, it also denies kids a chance to join a family sooner. How is this helping anyone?
And now that Governor Abbott has decided to hold a special session, the “bathroom” bill is sure to make another appearance. We can expect another heated debate over which bathroom transgender individuals can use.
We at MarchOn! Texas believe that the government should not discriminate against its citizens based upon who they love or how they identify themselves.
You can show your support for the LGBTQ community by attending the Texas Equality March this Sunday, June 11, noon – 4 pm at the Texas Capitol. For more details about this event click here: Texas Equality March.
President Trump may not care about the impact of global warming, but we at MarchOn! Texas sure do! Like many other mayor, governors and business leaders, we’ve got to take matters into our own hands.
You may be wondering, “I’m just one person. Can anything I do really make an impact?” The answer is a resounding yes. Here are five things you can do in fact.
5 Ways You Can Save Planet Earth
Watch your water usage. Water is our most precious resource and we tend to waste it. Turn off your faucet when you’re brushing your teeth. Use cold water to wash your laundry when possible, and wait until you have a full load. Switch your yard to a Xeriscape (pronounced zeer-escape), which is fancy for low-water/low-maintenance plants. It will save water, maintenance and money.
Eat less red meat. According to a Guardian article, giving up beef could reduce your carbon footprint more than giving up your car! Why? Because it takes 11 times more water and 28 times more land to raise cattle than chickens or pigs.
As a nice side bonus, you will get healthier in the process. Chicken and port are leaner meats than beef. Not ready to give it up entirely? Cut it down to just twice a month.
Drive smarter. Whenever possible, take public transit or ride your bike instead of your car. Buy the most fuel efficient model available; consider a hybrid for your next purchase. When you have errands, group them together so you are doing all of them in one trip instead of multiple ones. Slowing down when you drive helps your fuel economy and checking your tires for proper air levels will reduce pollution and greenhouse emissions.
Make your house more energy efficient. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Raise the A/C temperature when you leave the house. Close the window blinds to prevent your house from heating up in the summer. Make sure your doors and windows have proper seals so they aren’t leaking out air conditioning or heat during the winter.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. We Americans generate a lot of trash every year. The average person generates 4.6 pounds of trash per day! Recycling reduces greenhouse emissions by using up less landfill space. Take the extra time and sort your trash. If you have a water bottle, refill it with tap water instead of buying new plastic ones. Compost if you are able. Go to the park or beach this weekend and pick up some trash.
We have one planet and it’s everyone’s responsibility to care for it. Just being more mindful and making some of the small changes helps. It’s up to us now!
A hero is usually defined as someone who acts courageously in extraordinary circumstances. We think about the three brave men who fought a white supremacist shouting at two Muslim girls on an Oregon train; two of the men were stabbed to death while the third remains in the hospital.
We think about superheroes in comic books and movies, like Wonder Woman and Superman. We think about soldiers facing bullets, firefighters facing flames and police officers killed in the line of duty.
But does heroism require facing death? What about everyday heroes? From parents, to teachers, to kids who stand up to bullies on the playground there are brave actions taken daily.
Do you know an everyday hero who you’d like to give a shout-out to? Post their story with the hashtag #EveryDayHero on our Facebook page. Let’s inspire each other.
Aside from Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman ranks as one of the most popular comic book heroes of our times and since the beginning she has been steeped in controversy.
Perhaps you know the story the story of Wonder Woman? Here’s a quick backstory, summarized from DC.Wikia.com:
Back in 1200 BC the Greek goddesses gathered all the souls of women murdered by men (save for one, who would become Diana) and placed them on Paradise Island where they became immortal Amazon warriors. In the 20th century Queen Hippolyta took the soul of the unborn child of the first murdered woman, whom Hippolyta was a reincarnation of, molded some clay by the shore and turned it into a baby girl named Diana, who would one day become known as Wonder Woman.
Blessed by the goddesses, Diana was given gifts like strength, wisdom, courage and some super human powers like running fast and having a very strong threshold for pain. She was raised by a sisterhood of badass warrior women.
One day the gods said an emissary had to be sent to the Man’s World (aka America). Queen Hippolyta held a contest and forbid Diana to enter, but like any good rebellious daughter, she disguised herself, won the contest and went off to save the planet from a nuclear holocaust.
She was given a lasso of truth, warrior’s attire, and she also learned to pilot an invisible jet at some point. She could hold her own against gods and monsters and had a sweet spot for Superman.
That origin story alone is enough to start a conversation at the water cooler. But what is less know, and I daresay even more controversial, is the history of the comic character’s author, Dr. William Moulton Marston, as documented in the Smithsonian article The Surprising Origin of Wonder Woman as summarized below.
In 1933, the creator of comic books, Maxwell Charles Gaines, was under a lot of pressure from outside forces who viewed the stories as too violent for children. He read an article in Family Circle by Olive Richard where comic books were defended by psychologist Dr. Marston as not promoting torture or violence but to inspire heroes to save the damsels in distress. Dr. Marston not only held a Harvard degree, but was also widely credited as inventing the lie detector machine. (Hence, we have the lasso of truth.)
Gaines decided to hire Marston as a consultant to refute claims that comics were bad for kids.
What Gaines didn’t know was that the woman who wrote the article wasn’t really Olive Richard; her name was Olive Byrne. And she didn’t just visit Marston to write an article, she lived with him. In 1925 she was his former psychology student and became his lover, even though he was already married to a lawyer named Elizabeth Holloway.
But wait, there’s more. He gave his wife an ultimatum: either Bryne moved in or he would get a divorce. (Bryne moved in.) And between 1928 and 1933 each woman had two children by him. This was kept secret and they told people that Bryne was a widowed relative who lived with them.
That wasn’t the only secret. Bryne’s aunt was one of the most important feminists of the 20th century, Margaret Sanger. Margaret and Bryne’s mother, Ethyl Bryne, opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States and they were both jailed for distributing contraception, which was illegal in 1917.
Marston eventually went from being a consultant to the creator of the first female superhero, Wonder Woman. His relationship with not one but two strong women influenced the storylines considerably. This direct connection to the feminist movement also remained hidden.
He specifically saw Wonder Woman as the new definition of a powerful woman, breaking free of the bonds of male dominance on Paridise Island. This explains why she tells villains she conquers, “Submit!”
Chains were a common symbol of the women’s suffrage movement, as well reproductive rights, where unwanted pregnancies were viewed as a ball and chain around the woman.
Sometimes the drawings crossed over into the imagery of sadomasochism and bondage, especially on Paradise Island where a lot of the kinky stuff went down. As early as 1942 Wonder Woman ended up on the blacklist “Disapproved for Youth” because “Wonder Woman is not sufficiently dressed.”
In 1953 there was a senate committee hearing about comic books and Wonder Woman was singled out by another psychiatrist, Fredric Wertham, who believed her feminism and equality with men to be grave for society. After that the storylines were toned down.
Lynda Carter reinvented the character on the 1975 TV show Wonder Woman as a strong and sexy powerhouse who deflected bullets with her bracelets.
Want to know another little secret? The years that Marston, Bryne and Holloway lived together, Bryne didn’t wear a wedding ring (polygamy was/is illegal); instead she wore…bracelets.
Wonder Woman made controversial headlines again just last year, on the 75th anniversary of her creation. Less than two months after she was made an honorary ambassador to the UN for the empowerment of women and girls she was stripped of the title.
A petition signed by more than 44,000 people stated, “Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent warrior woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots –the epitome of a pin-up girl.”
Of course, not everyone agrees with that assessment. Many women find Barbie dolls and Disney princesses to be symbols of inequality with impossibly thin physiques, while Wonder Woman displays power and some serious muscle tone.
On Friday, the latest version of Wonder Woman debuts on the big screen, played by Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot and (surprise!) there is another controversy. Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse has a women’s-only viewing scheduled for this week and it sparked male outrage for reverse discrimination. Of course as noted in Gizmodo, of the 130 comic book movies released since 1920 only 8 of them have female leads, none since 2005, so it’s hard to justify all their fuss.
What do you think? Is Wonder Woman a strong feminist? A blatant sex object? Propaganda for an alternative lifestyle? Why not start a conversation with someone about her? It could lead to some interesting discussions.
Every mother since the dawn of time has had to navigate society to prepare her children for what they will face in the world. Each generation has their own cross to bear, but as a mom of two I kind of wish they were growing up when I did in the 80’s and not today’s crazy environment.
The world constantly reminds us that it is dangerous and there are those who wish us harm. The other night at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester a suicide bomber blew himself up along with 22 others, mostly young girls. It makes me sick and scared and want to pull my children closer to me.
Nationally, Trump’s proposed federal budget released today outlines his priorities, namely increasing the military, cutting taxes for the richest and services like Medicare and food stamps for the poorest.
Locally, over the weekend Texas was in the news for passing some of the most discriminating legislation in modern times. Heck, it even started being called “Discrimination Sunday” on social media!
SB6 says high school transgender students have to use the bathroom of their gender at birth. Another bill allows child adoption and foster care agencies to refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay parents due to religious objections. SB8 cuts off access to abortion after 14 weeks and forces mothers to pay burial costs for the fetus.
How do I explain to my children that there are real threats (terrorists) and imagined ones (i.e. – gay and transgender people can’t be trusted around children) and that a small group of very conservative men in government who run things can’t seem to tell the difference between the two? How can I explain why they want to punish people for being poor and take away the rights of women to have control over their own bodies?
The honest answer is that I can’t explain it, because the ultra conservative populist reasoning makes no sense to me and isn’t based on facts, just their own personal beliefs and biases.
But what I can explain is that the only way to change this is to stand up, speak up, and vote in progressives who envision a world that is inclusive.
Globally, progressives believe in keeping our country safe in a smart way, not by building some ten foot chain link wall or enacting a Muslim Ban against countries where none of the terrorists were even born, but by properly and selectively vetting people who mean to do us harm.
Progressives respect intelligence agencies like the CIA and FBI and facts versus conspiracy theories. Progressives believe in alliances with our NATO partners and when a country like Israel puts their people on the line to share intelligence with us about ISIS, our president would never share that code-word classified information with the Russians!
Nationally progressives can be pro-life without being anti-choice. The world isn’t black or white; it’s many shades of gray and the decision to become a mother (or not) is one of the most impactful choices a woman can make. We believe that only she knows what’s best for her own specific situation and her own body, not a panel of middle-aged men pretending to be holier-than-thou and passing blanket judgments that impact all women, but especially poor ones.
Let’s be frank. If you are a woman of means and decide after the 14 week mark that you want to have an abortion, you have the option to take a bus or plane ride to a different state. But if you’re poor? Where are you going to go?
Locally, the Texas legislature has been railing about defunding Planned Parenthood and changing laws to make “choice” effectively a non-choice for many women who can’t afford the travel costs to an out-of-state clinic. The government wants to effectively punish low-income women for having sex and not wanting to be a mother.
These same politicians, so concerned about the unborn, seemingly care even less should the baby actually be born. The new healthcare bill that passed the House delivers massive tax cuts to the wealthiest and cuts Medicaid from the poorest. The CBO estimated that 24 million people (including babies) will lose their health care coverage.
The Republican congress wants to eliminate essential benefits, such as maternity care. And if your baby is born with a heart condition, like Jimmy Kimmel’s was, well that’s a pre-existing condition. Good luck paying the bill.
Progressives believe in a woman’s right to choose, and if she chooses to become a mother progressives want her and her baby to have proper medical care, and food stamps too if they’re needed. Because progressives wouldn’t let a mother and her babies go hungry so the richest 1% can get an extra tax cut that they don’t even need.
But wishing for progressives to run things isn’t going to change anything, talking about it on Facebook doesn’t do anything, but if you actually contact your representatives at town halls, in their office, on the phone, by mail or online, now you are making your voice heard.
And if your representatives don’t listen to you, then it’s time to do absolutely everything that you can to get them out of power and get progressives in their place.
Let’s start at the local level. Of the progressive candidates identified by Marchers, 16 of them have runoff elections! Help them get the vote out. Knock on doors, donate to their cause, remind your friends and family to vote. Click here for more information: Support the June 10th runoff elections!
When our children are hurting, a kiss from mom makes everything better. Our nation is hurting now and it’s up to all of us to take action. The only way things will get better is if we put sane, competent people in power.
You sent out a newsletter requesting stories about how Obamacare affected us and our family. Let me start by telling you what life was like before Obamacare.
My daughter was born in June 2007, a strong and beautiful little girl. The first time we took her to the hospital was that October. There was a fire burning in our town, matched only but the heat of her fever. While others were moving towards cleaner air we headed into the smoky clouds where the hospital was located.
It ended up being a urinary tract infection and after the doctor gave her some antibiotics we went home. But something wasn’t right.
Every six weeks or so she got a new infection, or was it the same one? Her pediatrician didn’t know. Each time there was the 102 degree fever, the catheter inserted inside her tiny body for a sample as she screamed in agony and I had to watch helplessly.
Have you ever had to hold a child – your child – when she’s in pain? As tears stream down her perfect cheeks and she looks at you, as though questioning why you can’t fix it? Have you ever had to hold your baby still as they strap her limbs down so she can’t twist as a giant machine x-rays her? I hope you haven’t, because it’s terrifying.
During this time I was offered a dream job that would have paid me $10,000 more in base salary. I turned it down. Do you know why? Because we didn’t know what was causing these infections. We didn’t know if she had pre-existing conditions. We couldn’t risk the six month lapse in health insurance before the benefits in the new job would kick in.
I also began to worry about my current job because I had to take off a lot of time from work to take her to doctor appointments.
When your baby is sick it’s hard to concentrate. There was a budget presentation I had to give and as I gathered up my papers a framed photo of my baby in her pink onesie giggling caught my eye.
I began sobbing, and ran into the ladies room, shaking with fear. Her test at the Children’s Hospital was the next day and I was petrified. Would she be ok? If she wasn’t, what if the insurance said this was a pre-existing condition? How would I pay for her care? Would I ever be able to leave this job for a better one?
Have you ever felt trapped before? That’s what it felt like. Like there was no air, just fear. I had a job with healthcare but life before Obamacare meant insurance companies made the rules and, bottom line, they didn’t care about my baby; they cared about their own corporate bottom line. It was sick and I do mean that in ever sense of the word.
We were lucky. My daughter was fine. But what about all the other babies who aren’t? We are the richest nation in the world and no parent should worry about whether or not their baby will get treatment. Having a child who is sick is gut wrenching enough, why should we go back to the days when a pre-existing condition could bankrupt you as well, just so some insurance CEO gets a multi-million dollar bonus?
And now let me tell you another story, about life after Obamacare, since you asked how it affects my family.
My brother works two jobs. He is an adjunct professor of history at a community college and was also a bank teller at the time. Even though he worked two jobs they both made sure that his hours were kept below a certain limit so they wouldn’t have to pay for medical benefits.
When Obamacare passed he went to the doctor for the first time in almost a decade to get a physical, not because he thought there was anything wrong. The doctor told him it was a wonder he was still alive. He had diabetes, high blood pressure and rickets and was essentially a walking heart attack ready to happen. Through medicine, lifestyle changes and access to healthcare my brother is alive today.
The positive impact of Obamacare doesn’t stop there.
I have pre-existing conditions (cancer) and my husband is in his fifties and we can rest easy knowing that we won’t be priced out of the market. I’m no longer held hostage to a job for the medical benefits because I can afford to pay for them on my own.
I’ve lived through the nightmare of healthcare before Obamacare was in place and I’ve felt the relief of being on an Obamacare silver plan (which actually cost us less money than paying for our own coverage.)
According to the AARP under the proposed AHCA plan my husband’s insurance rates could increase five times higher and if Texas decides to get rid of essential benefits I can only imagine the cost to my family to have to go into a high risk pool.
The government shouldn’t punish its citizens for getting sick or growing older, or like millions of Americans having pre-existing conditions.
If you pass the AHCA it will directly impact me, my immediate family and my extended family. Societies are judged not by how they treat the wealthy and the powerful but by how they care for the most vulnerable among us.
And if it were your baby hot with fever, tears spilling down her face (and your own) would you care one iota about lining insurance executives pockets or would you want to know that doctors would do absolutely everything possible to save her life, regardless of pre-existing conditions?
The first 100 days of a presidency is usually referred to as the honeymoon; with Trump as president the experience has been more like, “Brace yourself, Bridget!”
And yet, it’s been pretty much what I expected: chaos.
People who voted for Trump, or as I like to call them, “half of my friends and family”, voted for him precisely for his ability to disrupt things. As one family member told me, “He’s like throwing a stick of dynamite into Congress. Ha!”
Well, looks like the joke is on all of us.
Key campaign staff are under FBI investigation for potentially colluding with the Russians to swing the election, millions of women across the globe marched the day after his inauguration, he’s rolled back regulations and put climate change deniers in charge of the EPA, his surrogates spew out “alternative facts,” and somehow his press secretary missed the history class that mentioned Hitler gassed 6 million Jews.
Through his executive orders, personnel choices and Tweets he has made it abundantly clear that his new America is tied to white nationalists.
The selection of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist is the biggest evidence of this direction. Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, home of the alt-right (which is fancy for “white nationalist”) helped to bring racist misogynists like Milo Yiannopolis mainstream and emboldened people like former KKK leader David Duke and neo-Nazi Richard Spencer to praise Trump’s rhetoric openly.
Even though Trump said he disavows these groups, his words, deeds and sentiments seem to resonate with them, which is pretty telling in and of itself. When was the last time you remember the KKK holding a parade for a president? Or have you ever seen a video of Nazis salute any American president like they did when they said, “Heil Trump“?
Jeff Sessions, considered too racially biased to be a federal judge in 1986 (!) is now the attorney general. During the first 100 days he promised the US Justice Department would no longer seek to reform systemic police abuses (not even in Ferguson and Baltimore,) wanted to freeze federal funds to “sanctuary cities,” and had to officially recuse himself from any hearings on Russia-Trump investigations because he…ahem…forgot to mention his two (2) meetings with the Russian ambassador prior to the election. Hmm.
Happily, Trump’s Muslim ban was ruled unconstitutional (twice) but not without first causing mass confusion and protests at international airports. Hate crimes are on the rise and increased bullying at schools across the country is referred to as “The Trump Effect”.
After bragging how easy it would be to repeal and replace healthcare for almost a decade, and with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, the guy who loves the art of the deal couldn’t pull it off. The AHCA died before it was even voted on, so his administration didn’t win, but the fortunately the American people did, because that plan would have been a total disaster (to coin his phrase) leaving 24 million without health coverage and essential benefits.
While not very good at getting his legislation passed, Trump is pretty good at taking away women’s rights. One of his first executive orders was to instill the “gag rule” which banned funding for international family planning charities who provide or “promote” abortions. Yes, even talking about abortion as one of several options for pregnant women is forbidden. He signed this surrounded by a room full of white men.
And what better way to celebrate Sexual Assault Awareness Month than to defend former FOX anchor Bill O’Reilly, who paid $13 million to settle sexually inappropriate behavior claims by five women, by telling the New York Times “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” But is his support a surprise to anyone who watched the Access Hollywood tape, which was the very definition of sexual assault?
Trump’s foreign policy is a giant cluster of whatever he’s feeling at the moment: NATO is obsolete. No wait! It’s not anymore. China is a currency manipulator. Oops! My bad. They’re not. I’m solidly against NAFTA. Unless I’m talking to the leaders of Canada and Mexico. Then I’m totally cool with it. Plus, Mexico is going to pay for that wall! Except, they’re not, so American taxpayers will or else We Will Shut Down This Government! Ok, you called my bluff. Did I mention we dropped the mother of all bombs in Afghanistan and got involved in the Syrian civil war after I said I wouldn’t and now we might go to war with North Korea?
His lack of knowledge of a plethora of issues and seeming willingness to drive a hard bargain and then instantly back down only weakens us as a nation.
In the latest interview with Reuters, Trump said, “I thought it would be easier…I miss my old life.” This follows his bewildered discoveries that “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” and that dealing with North Korea was “not so easy.”
Remember that old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it”? Trump is beginning to understand it and it can only be a matter of time before the people who put their faith in him to bring back manufacturing jobs and the good old days will get buyer’s remorse too.
But one positive side effect of Trump’s 100 days is that he awakened a sleeping giant: Progressives, women, immigrants, people of color, LBGTQ and religious minorities are energized like never before.
First we marched, now an unprecedented 13,000 women are running for office across the country. And here, in deep red Texas, our Marchers have identified over 70 progressive candidates, 45 of them women! (You can see a candidate list here: North Texas, Central Texas, Gulf Coast or click on the map below).
Suddenly people have realized that silence is no longer an option. Patriotism requires being an everyday activist, even when it’s hard. From students to retirees, people are calling their reps, marching for science, donating to support free speech and showing up at town halls to hold elected officials accountable.
Another positive thing that Trump has proven, is that anyone can beat the odds. Even he did think he would win! (Remember, “The election is rigged”?) So when we at March On! Texas hear that our state is solidly conservative and will be forever, we know that’s not true.
We believe that we can turn Texas blue and it begins with you. Early voting is now open and the official election date is May 6th. So if we truly want to limit the number of days that Trump and his cronies are in power, we must flex our power by voting.
Every year around April 15th I start to get very patriotic. Because that’s when my taxes are do and if I didn’t think about how great America is I’d be really ticked off I had to pay so much.
Usually, I’d say nice calming things like: libraries, social security for grandma, Medicaid, food stamps, public schools for all, and then I’d gladly write the check to the IRS. (OK, I wasn’t glad but I wasn’t angry about it either.)
But this year? Holy Tax Evasion Bat Man! Why do I have to kill myself to fill out all this paperwork when Donald Trump bragged during a debate that not paying taxes makes him smart!?!
Any why won’t he release his taxes? Even Richard-I’m-Not-A-Crook-Nixon released his taxes! The Republican rubber-stamping congress could order him to release his taxes as part of the inquiry into Russian business relationships, but they don’t seem interested at all.
Clearly his refusal to release his tax returns got a lot of people angry. Thousands of people in over 200 cities attended the Tax March yesterday.
Say what you will about Donald Trump, but he sure did motivate a bunch of Progressives to get involved! Like a lot of people, I did my civic duty by voting and even gave some donations to Hillary Clinton, but would hardly call myself an activist.
Until election night. Well, scratch that. I was crying on election night. I didn’t become an activist until I saw images of sea of people in pink hats holding protest signs at the Women’s March, standing up for our country and all its values. Seeing those women gave me hope that we could change things, if only we organized, made our voices heard and committed to getting Progressive candidates elected.
That’s what Blue Ribbon Lobby Day was about. Sponsored by the Texas Democratic Women, Texas Democratic Party, Travis County Democratic Party, March On! Texas, Annie’s List, Texas Coalition of Black Democrats and The AFL-CIO, this was a day to bring like-minded women together to fight for our rights and the rights of our families.
November 6, 2016. Two days before the presidential election. Hillary Clinton is a shoo in to be the first female President of the United States. Yeah! Chill the champagne, it’s about time!
Flash forward to election day. Hillary is…wait, what?? Donald Trump is President of the United States? But, what happened? Some stayed home (remember the shoo in?), some voted for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein as a protest vote, and some voted for Trump to make a change.
Now, six months later, America really is a different place! I don’t even need to list the ways. You know. We have marched, we have protested, we have cried. But now it is time to look forward and effect some real change. Some positive change. May 6. Six months into this new reality. It’s election time again.
Change can start in Texas. With you. And dozens of progressive candidates who have stepped forward to say “I will fight for you.” And we must fight for them. For change begins at home; and school board members run for Governor one day. And maybe even President. One. Day.