Friday, August 29, 2008

Highlights from Denver

Generosity and sisterhood:
Hotel rooms were all taken when I decided to go to the DNC in Denver to promote the agenda for Valuing Families at Work. Dori Maynard, who runs the Maynard media institute, offered to have me share her room. She was staying far from the convention, and I wound up staying with a friend closer by. When I saw Dori, I thanked her for being willing to open her room to a stranger. “You’re not a stranger,” she said. “We just hadn’t met.”

Favorite lines:
Ceil Richards, daughter of Ann Richards and head of Planned Parenthood: “Women voting for McCain would be like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN): “People who live in seven houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) recalling a line of Bella Abzug about equal opportunity: “We’re not fighting for a female Einstein to be an assistant professor. We fight for a female schlemiel to get the same job as a male schlemiel.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who chaired Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign in NY: “I wear this button: ‘I’m a Hillary supporter. Now Hillary supports Barack Obama and so do I.’ The media kept calling me, asking, ‘Are you going to the demonstration protesting that Hillary wasn’t selected as VP?’ They’re trying to divide us, pour salt on the wounds. The media people say Barack Obama is not treating Hillary well – but the platform has its strongest planks ever for women. That’s how Barack Obama is treating women.”

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (CA), ranking woman on the Armed Services Committee, on the insistence by military lawyers that current procedures for reporting sexual assault needed no change: “Obviously, you’ve never been raped.”

Billye Avery, founder of a Black women’s health group in Atlanta: “The Massachusetts health plan is insurance reform, not health care reform.”

Mary Kay Harris, an activist from DARE in Rhode Island who became involved after her son was brutally beaten by police, at a discussion of women activists: “Seeing you all doing amazing work builds hope for me. I leave with a burst of energy.” Mary Kay attributes her activism to learning to stand up for herself and fight harassment as one of the only female welders.

Carol Jenkins, president of the Women’s Media Center, on the need for the media to include women experts on every issue: “There are women who can write about nuclear bombs and even some who can set them off.”

Amazing factoids:
The country with the highest percentage of women in political office: Rwanda. It was one of the reforms they felt they had to do in order to rebuild after the murder of 8000 Tutsis.

Iraq and Afghanistan both have more women in political office than the U.S.

Percentage of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afganistan who are female: 19.
Number of instances of rape reported by those women from military men: 900.

Where the U.S. ranks compared to other countries in maternal mortality: 41

Favorite Freebies
Condoms from Planned Parenthood saying, “Protect yourself from John McCain.” Each has one of 10 reasons why McCain would be terrible for women.

Favorite T-Shirt

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