If your ears are buzzing, it is because Joan Blades just wrapped up a presentation in New York at the Women's Media Center, and she was talking about how wonderful all of you engaged mothers are.
Emily McKhann, my business partner, and the ad hoc MomsRising on-the-ground reporter, was also there. Part of the discussion included Emily and Joan sharing with the group the Pennsylvania story and the progress that is being made there. Here are some of Emily's "Treo" dispatches from the event:
"In a packed conference room at the Women's Media Center headquarters in the Empire State Building, Carol Jenkins, acting president of the Women's Media Center, introduced Joan by saying, 'I was lucky enough to meet Joan at her home in California. We had a meeting Joan-style, by walking. And in Berkeley there are a lot of hills, all of them going up -- just like Joan. She just keeps going higher with her efforts to change the landscape.'"
Wow. How cool is that introduction? Joan showed a six-minute clip of the MotherHood Manifesto film during the luncheon, which Emily said the group loved.
Joan remarked to the group, "MoveOn works on front-page issues. I never see the MomsRising issues on the front page. It's going to take a concerted effort. By 2008, I want to see a huge base of voters who want to make these issues a priority."
Continuing, Joan said, "We're undermining moms trying to take care of their kids and we're going to pay for it in 20 years."
Joy Rose, the founder and director of Mamapalooza, and a member of the band, Housewives on Prozac, said, "Two things aren't taught in school: how to parent and how to survive in the world economically. If anyone had told me when I married that I should take care of myself economically, when I had my four kids, I would have said to my husband, 'we'll put half your paycheck in my bank account and half in yours and we'd pay our bills together.' Then if we get divorced, which half of all couples do, I would have my savings to live on. As girls we're taught to work and take on the world, but then we get married, pop out babies, and we go right back to the 50s."
(Sidebar: Emily said Joy is an amazing woman. I just googled Joy and found some fabulous quotes on being a mother, like this one: "It's always the same struggle for moms, whether you're an artist or not, paying attention to your own needs in addition to those of the family. The best advice I can give, is try to do things that bring you joy and satisfaction. Don't be afraid. Life is short and time is precious and we forget that. So, to the extent that you can carve out moments in your everyday experience for creativity and humor, the happier you'll be. Most of all -- never give up on your sense of self-worth. You are a beautiful medley, a song to be sung, a story to be told! Make it interesting! Wear lipstick. Rock hard, and remember, 'Women have no expiration date.'")
On the issue of education, Joan added, "I'd like to see high schools track not only how many kids graduate but how many vote. That would be a sign of a successful civics education."
When asked by Gloria Feldt, former president of Planned Parenthood, what her top priorities were, Joan answered that the Pennsylvania legislation was most definitely one of them.
Gloria Feldt responded, "This legislation in PA would have passed if the legislators were scared to death of Kiki. They have to be scared to death that there is a block of voters who will follow through on their issues and will kick them out of office if they don't vote their way."
Interesting idea. What do you think, gang, about a Halloween march on Harrisburg with scary masks and T-shirts that say "No vote on HB 352 or SB 440? No vote from me!" OK, so not so good, but I know you all can come up with something much better. Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Joan observed, with all this interest, all this activity, the bills still sit in committee: "We can't let Kiki put on her back dress a third time."
Every time in the last six years that the bills have died in committee, Kiki puts on a black dress. At the end of November, I suggest we take a collection for a dress, in a nice, MomsRising "red," and send it to Kiki, because this law will pass, for Kiki, for Pennsylvania, and for mothers everywhere. But there is so much work to do.
-- Courtesy of MomsRising.
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