MomsRising e-Exchange, February 2007
Below you'll find the MomsRising e-Exchange. But before jumping in, we want to ask: Does your organization have plans to celebrate or organize for International Women’s Day on March 8th? Or for Mother's Day in May? Do share! Send us 3 – 4 sentences about the plans you are hatching and we’ll compile them into the next e-Exchange. This way we can all see ways to work together, and to support each other's efforts.
Joan, Kristin and Mary
A. BECOME PART OF THE ACTION!
National Leaders Forming Advisory Groups for MomsRising
MomsRising is calling together national experts to form seven Issue Advisory Groups, one for each of the Motherhood Manifesto points. Want to join? We’d love to have you!
Here is the list of the MOTHERS Issue Advisory Groups for you to choose from, and feel free to join more than one: M=Maternity/Paternity Leave (Paid Family Leave); O=Open, Flexible Work Places; T=Television & Other After-School Programs; H=Healthcare for All Kids; E=Excellent Childcare; R=Realistic & Fair Wages; and lastly, S=Special Focus on Paid Sick Days.
The advisory groups will focus on making these issues more broadly understood and identifying opportunities to collaborate. They will advise MomsRising on how our online grassroots mobilization can support their organizations’ efforts to bring about family-friendly change. In short, the advisory groups are a way to help you get the word out about your initiatives and issue areas.
MomsRising does not see its role as being policy experts, but rather as working to create a massive online organizing capacity. As such, the top goals for the Issue Advisory Groups are:
1-To alert MomsRising to opportunities for rapid grassroots response to breaking issues, and
2- To help plan short and longer-term goals and priorities for MomsRising’s online organizing for each of these issues.
The Issue Advisory Groups are a good way to effectively streamline and enhance communication across multiple sectors as our movement grows. We plan to continue using information from the aligned organizations in weekly email outreaches to our national membership, through our connection with over 400 family-friendly bloggers, and by highlighting policy action and education efforts on our website with What’s Cooking and other programs. The Issue Advisory Groups will help focus and prioritize these efforts.
Time Commitment: Now we bet you’re wondering about the dreaded time commitment. Well, good news: you and your group get to decide. MomsRising will send out an e-mail nudge twice a month asking the groups to let us know about their emerging issues that MomsRising might be able to help with. Beyond that, each Issue Advisory Group will determine how often they want to connect via phone calls.
We would love to have you join us in this effort. Please contact Kristin@momsrising.org if you would like to join one (or more!) of these groups.
Issue Advisory Groups
Preliminary list of participants
• M -- Maternity/Paternity Leave (Paid Family Leave)
Vicky Lovell, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Ellen Bravo, Multi-State Working Family Consortium
Linda Meric. 9 to 5
Kate Kahan, National Partnership for Women and Families
Netsy Firestein, Labor Project for Working Families
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising
• O -- Open, Flexible Work Options
John de Graaf, Take Back Your Time
Chai Feldblum, Workplace Flexibility 2010
Jamie Woolf, The Parent Leader
Emily McKhann, theMotherHood.com
Cooper Monroe, theMotherHood.com
Donna Norton, MomsRising
• T -- TV & Other After-School Programs
Josh Silver, Free Press
Betsy Taylor, founder of Center for a New American Dream
Representative, Common Sense Media
Ashley Boyd, MomsRising
Joan Blades, MomsRising
• H -- Healthcare for All Kids
Lena O’Rourke, Families USA
Maryellen Barerrca, Families USA
Deborah Richtor, Vermont Healthcare for All
Adam Thompson, Progressive States Network
Joel Barkin, Progressive States Network
Bree Johnston, California Physicians Alliance and Physicians for a National Health Program
Mary Olivella, MomsRising
Joan Blades, MomsRising
• E -- Excellent Childcare: planning underway
• R -- Realistic & Fair Wages: planning underway
• S -- Special Focus on Paid Sick Days
Joel Barkin, Progressive States Network
Kate Kahan, National Partnership for Women and Families
Jodie Levin-Epstien, Center for Law and Social Policy
Vicki Lovell, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising
Katie Bethell, MomsRising
B. THE MOTHERHOOD MANIFESTO FILM
Lights, Camera & Action in the New Year!
The Motherhood Manifesto documentary film is being shown at house parties and by aligned organizations in various settings around the country. The film is both entertaining and a powerful call to action. The feedback we are getting is that it is a great on-the-ground educational and organizing tool. It is motivating people to become politically engaged for the first time.
Target Dates to Screen the Film
We have identified three times in the early part of this year to focus on house parties and film screenings, although the film can certainly be shown at any time.
• February—with the theme, “Help Make 2007 the Year of the Family!”
• March 8th, International Women’s Day—with a nation-wide, “virtual,” online house party. (We plan to have the film stream online for all to see--for free--at these parties.)
• May 13th, Mother’s Day—with a focus on watching the film when it is shown on PBS. (See below for more information on PBS.)
Are you interested in joining us for these house party/film screening pushes? If so, contact Ashley Boyd at email@example.com. Feel free to join in with any of these focused times, or make a theme that works for your organization.
We hope that you will consider inviting your members to take part in the house party campaign to screen the film, and also consider having your organization show the film at professional conferences or at local theaters and community centers. The film can be shown in its entirety (just under an hour), or in selected segments of your choosing (these are 10 minutes each and focus on different topics.) Some groups are using the film screenings as fundraisers for their organizations.
To see reviews of the film, and to get information on how to obtain it and how to host a house party, please go to www.party2win.com/momsrising.
Here are a few examples of how some organizations are currently using the film:
• The National Educational Telecommunications Association is distributing the film to all PBS stations on April 7th. MomsRising will be launching a campaign to urge local stations across the country to feature the film on Mother's Day or thereabouts.
• The Labor Project for Working Families is screening the film at an event for unions. Joan Blades and Art Pulaski, Secretary-Treasurer of the State Federation of Labor, will answer questions after the movie. The goal is to encourage unions to take action on some of the issues covered in the film, and to show the film to their union members. It is an opportunity for folks to discuss work and family issues and put them on the top of their 2007 agenda.
• The League of Women Voters is slated to show the film at their state conventions in 2007.
• The California National Organization for Women is sending the film (and the Motherhood Manifesto book) to all of its chapters. They will be hosting house parties and chapter meetings to screen the film. (See a letter from their executive director below.)
• The Ironweed Film Club sent the DVD out to all of its members in December. (Ironweed is a progressive film club.)
• A college curriculum guide to accompany the film is being developed in partnership with Bullfrog films.
Letter from Helen Grieco
Executive Director, CA NOW
In 1966 my mother fled domestic violence with her four children and we went on welfare because with no child support, no high school diploma and children under 5, she couldn't find adequate work to support us. We really went from violence to the silence of poverty. It made me dedicate my life to the rights of women and their children. My daughter is three years old. I am grateful that we are safe and that I can provide for her. I am grateful that I work for the California National Organization for Women (CA NOW) on behalf of moms!
CA NOW is committed to ending discrimination against all women. We know that America is not a family-friendly nation. We applaud MomsRising for their groundbreaking efforts to organize moms and raise public awareness about the discrimination that moms experience.
We are excited to join MomsRising's efforts. CA NOW will be sending The Motherhood Manifesto DVD and book to all our chapters in California! We will be hosting house parties and chapter meetings to help spread the word and build the movement to stop discrimination against moms to our 100,000 members and supporters.
From a Mom who is Rising!
C. SPOTLIGHT ON AN ISSUE
The Family Medical Leave Act Under Threat
The National Partnership for Women & Families is coordinating a large-scale effort to prevent erosion to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This legislation has been a life-saver for tens of thousands of families. It allows people who work for companies (with fifty or more workers) to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave in order to care for a new baby, or to care for a family member or themselves when facing a serious health issue.
In the face of significant corporate opposition to the FMLA, the U.S. Department of Labor is now reviewing this law and is seeking comments from the public. The FMLA is at risk of being scaled back if there isn’t a large volume of supportive citizen comments. We need to tell the Department of Labor that the FMLA should actually be expanded, not curtailed, in order to provide paid medical and family leave for all workers, including those in smaller workplaces.
Please ask your organization to send a clear message to the Department of Labor that they need to retain and expand the FMLA. Comments can be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, see The National Partnership for Women & Families’ web site: http://www.nationalpartnership.org/FMLA.
MomsRising asked our members to email the Department of Labor and then published copies of their emails on our blog.
D. SPOTLIGHT ON YOU
Who's Doing What and Where in 2007 -- Priorities for the Aligned Organizations
The beginning of 2007 has brought a new political playing field, and along with it new priorities and strategies. MomsRising asked our e-Exchange readership to name their top three priorities for 2007. Here’s what has come in thus far.
(Note: We continue to receive emails from other organizations describing their priorities. If you missed the first call, please send your top three priorities to Kristin@momsrising.org. We are going to continue building this priorities list as a resource to support collaboration among us all in ’07. Think of this as a “living” document.)
Center for Law and Public Policy: Jodie Levin-Epstein, email@example.com
• Paid sick days: national legislation/state developments/organizing supportive businesses
• “Soft touch” flexible work: national legislation
• Low wage workers and responsive working conditions: research and advocacy
The Afterschool Alliance: Erika Argersinger, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Increased funding for afterschool programs. At the federal level, advocate for increased FY 08 appropriations for 21st CCLC; seek increased authorization levels for 21st CCLC in the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind; identify and advocate for alternative streams of funding.
Labor Project for Working Families: Netsy Firestein
• Childcare: The VOICE Coalition advocates for more funding for quality child care that also compensates the providers. Contact: Jenya Cassidy at: email@example.com
• Expanding Paid Family Leave and Paid Sick Days: The Work and Family Coalition is working to expand California's Paid Family Leave Law. We are also working on winning Paid Sick Days for all workers (that you can use for yourself or to care for a family member). Contact: Brenda Munoz at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physicians for a National Health Policy: Nicholas Skala, email@example.com
• Single-payer national health insurance system to eliminate insurance industry waste and profit and use the savings to provide coverage for all. The U.S. National Health Insurance Act (HR 676) has more co-sponsors than any other health reform bill. California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Vermont all have state single-payer bills or plans. It’s time to act now to put national health insurance on the agenda for 2008! Visit www.pnhp.org.
The Women Legislators’ Body: Laura Boyd, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Redirecting portions of federal budget from archaic and unnecessary weapons systems toward states' needs for education, healthcare, etc.
• Maintain and return cut funding to Medicaid and entitlement spending for children and families.
Maine Women's Policy Center: Laura H. Harper, email@example.com
• An Act to Care for Working Families: Closely aligned with Maine’s Family Sick Leave law, this would provide full-time workers with 7 paid sick days annually to be used for personal or family illness. For part-time workers, one hour paid sick time would be accumulated for every 30 hours worked. This would affect employers of 25 or more employees.
• An Act Amending the Family Medical Leave Act: This adds domestic partner to the family members included in Maine’s current Family Medical Leave Act.
• Provide public funding for Medicaid-eligible women for abortion services
9to5 National Association of Working Women: Cathy Deppe, firstname.lastname@example.org
• National legislative priorities: paid sick days, and expanded and paid FMLA.
• California legislative priorities are the same, but with the addition of California anti-bullying legislation and the CalWORKS COLA being paid (a budget fight).
Mothers United for Midwifery: Freeda Cathcart, email@example.com
• Protect birth choices for mothers by raising consciousness and supporting midwives on trial (for practicing medicine without a license in unregulated states.)
• Petition state governments who aren't regulated to create licenses for Certified Professional Midwives. To learn about how to protect birth choices for mothers and how to help midwives on trial in the USA join Mothers United for Midwifery's information blog by sending a blank post to VAMUMfirstname.lastname@example.org
• FMLA Defense: An FMLA Coalition is working to defend the FMLA, safeguarding its current provisions and working to expand its impact.
• Paid Sick Days For All Workers: Working to pass paid sick days legislation, guaranteeing a minimum number of paid sick days for all workers, at the federal, state, and city level. Paid sick days coalitions will be working on the federal bill (the Healthy Families Act), and on state-level bills in several locations, including the District of Columbia, Montana, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
• Paid Family Leave: Focusing on public policy that provides workers with essential income during family and medical leave. We expect to see bill introductions at the federal and state level, and we will continue to raise awareness of the necessity of paid leave.
• At-Home Infant Care: Supporting legislators and advocates proposing At-Home Infant Care (AHIC) programs, which would give low-income parents who receive subsidies for child care the option to use those subsidies to provide care for their children themselves. AHIC bills have been introduced in Congress and at the state level.
E. MEDIA COVERAGE, RECENT PUBLICATIONS, AND UPCOMING CONFERENCES
• “Moms Rise Up, Fight for Workplace Rights”, CNNMoney.com, January 11, 2007. http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/11/pf/moms_rising/index.htm
• “Wake Up, Employers: Working Moms Are Giving Up”, AlterNet, December 20, 2006: The majority of working moms who leave their jobs do so because of inflexible office policy, not Martha Stewart fantasies.
• “Indiscriminate Breeders!?!” Huffington Post, December 19, 2006: Joan Blades’ blog supporting mothers creates intense debate and controversy. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joan-blades/
• “Mother’s Work,” San Francisco Weekly, December 6: Blends mothers’ stories with a political analysis; also chronicles origins and goals of MomsRising. http://www.sfweekly.com/issues/2006-12-06/news/feature_full.html
• “Life as a Mother-Scientist”, The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 1st: Discusses the barriers to women with children in science and in academe in general. http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2006/12/2006120101c/careers.html
• “Women Own the Democratic Party”, AlterNet, November 29, 2006: Analysis shows that female voters determined the 2006 elections. Will women-friendly policy result? http://www.alternet.org/story/44857/
• “Workplace Flexibility for Lower Wage Workers”, released by Corporate Voices for Working Families at www.cvworkingfamilies.org. (Click on right side of web site.)