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Politics TV is running video of the remarks made by Senator Hilary Clinton , Senator Barak Obama , Senator Chris Dodd , and Senator Ted Kennedy at last week's Capitol Hill screening of The Motherhood Manifesto documentary. It is amazing to watch these clips and to hear how personally the Senators talk about the importance of, the MotherHood Manifesto, and the issues surrounding motherhood and family life that we all care so deeply about. (Senator Obama is especially moving.) Plus, you get to see our lovely Joan and Kristin too!
The same day Kristin and I were up on The Hill talking to federal law makers and their staff about the discrimination Kiki experienced because she was a single mother, Cooper Monroe was speaking on the Radio in PA about the need to pass the law to protect mothers that has been stuck in committee for the last 6 years. While Federal law makers were having a hard time believing that employers routinely ask women about their marital and familial status, Cooper was on a radio show talking to small business owners in PA that never want to hire a mother again. The callers insisted the PA law to protect mothers should not be passed because mothers with children are a hiring risk and they need to be able to ask so that they are able to avoid hiring them.
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Across Pennsylvania, in Harrisburg, in Washington, DC, in the blogs and over the airwaves, our campaign for the mothers of Pennsylvania, and everywhere, reached new, exciting, and interesting heights this week. Let's start with Kiki in Harrisburg: Kiki delivered a 123 page, 5,200 name petition to key lawmakers in Harrisburg, much to the amazement, and befuddlement, of some legislative staffers. “That is not true!” exclaimed one staffer when Kiki told her that in Pennsylvania it was legal to ask about marriage and family in a job interview. The especially disturbing part about that exchange is the staffer works for Sen. John Gordner - who appears hell-bent to stall the legislation in his committee until it dies - as Mr. Gordner obviously isn’t sharing the legislation with people in his office. Kiki did learn from members of Gordner’s staff that within the past week or two, calls and emails have flooded their office from all over the country regarding that “mysterious” SB 440. (You guys ROCK!)
A live and exciting dispatch straight from the MomsRising screening of “The MotherHood Manifesto” in Washington, DC! Emily McKhann, my blog and business partner is on Capitol Hill in Washington DC at the MomsRising showing of The Motherhood Manifesto documentary hosted by Senators Clinton, Obama, Dodd and Kennedy. Right this minute Emily is sending me text messages to my cell phone from her Treo. I will enter them to the blog as they come in, so this is chronological order:
Kiki went to Harrisburg today with what she called her “army,” the 123 pages of signatures and good wishes from 5,243 members of MomsRising that she held in her hands. Starting with the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, Kiki visited Rep. O’Brien’s office, the chair of the House Judiciary committee, which is holding up HB 352. From Kiki: My first stop was to Rep. O’Brien’s office where I met with his secretary Christine Crone. I introduced myself and gave her the “packet” and asked that Rep. O’Brien PLEASE take action and bring HB 352 to committee now. While I was talking to her, Michael Piecuch, Esq. who is chief counsel to the Judiciary Committee walked over. I repeated my speech to him as well. He said he has been asked if there is federal protection against marital/familial status discrimination. I told him if there were, I wouldn’t have to be fighting for the last 12 years to amend the PA Human Relations Act.
Back a long time ago at Playground Revolution I blogged about my friend Liz. Liz runs the PA Housing Alliance , an organization in Pennsylvania devoted to finding more and better housing for people with low incomes. Liz is very smart and very serious about her work. One night when a bunch of us were doing our usual political rants over dinner, she excused herself to go hang out with the kids. When she returned, she simply announced that she has little truck for political rants that go nowhere. She named a powerful local politician in our city, a man known both for hardball tactics and getting the job done. “Vince Fumo plays to win,” she said. “We need to play to win, too.”
WTAE-TV News Pittsburgh aired an editorial recently calling for Pennsylvania lawmakers to stop discriminating against mothers and to pass legislation now that would end these horrible discriminatory practices in job interviews. How cool is it that! Do you hear us, PA legislators? We are getting louder! Watch it here.
Last week we put the word out to the blogs that help was needed in Pennsylvania. Immediately, without pause, blog after blog picked up our story, and the need for change here, and in 27 other states, and RAN. Because of you bloggers, conversations, and action, are buzzing through the internet. The one common refrain, other than being completely ticked off by the whole concept of maternal profiling, is that people had absolutely NO IDEA, like me (and most of the people I talk to) that it is perfectly legal to discriminate against mothers in job interviews.
The momentum is growing here in the keystone state. Do you feel it? Dozens of blogs are talking about the problem of "maternal profiling" here and in 27 other states; thousands signed the online petition; and lawmakers might just be waking up. Yes, people care about the fact that it is legal -- in the majority of states in this country -- to ask someone in a job interview if they are married or have kids and decide to hire that job applicant, or not, based on their answers. (Ugh. I hate writing that, every time I type it, it makes me madder. I just can't believe it is true.)
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran an op-ed today I wrote about Kiki and the legislation pending in Pennsylvania titled, Maternal Profiling. Please check out the article and send it around. This issue is critical in Pennsylvania, but discrimination against mothers can be found everywhere. If we send a message in Pennsylvania, who knows how far that impact will go!