Archive | February 2014

International Women’s Day 2014

Serious Business Woman

International Women’s Day is fast approaching. Each year, March 8th is recognized as International Women’s Day. In some countries, International Women’s Day is an official holiday. Let these celebration ideas listed below — whether they involve cupcakes, lipstick or protest — inspire you about commemorate International Women’s Day.

1. Take the day off.
In countries where the day is a public holiday, workers get the day off to celebrate the accomplishments of women. Armenia, Burkina Faso, Mongolia and Kazakhstan are a few of the countries where International Women’s Day is a national holiday. In the afore-referenced countries, workers are given the day off. In some countries, such as China, only women get the day off.

2. Give flowers to women.
Flowers are a symbol of International Women’s Day, and many countries celebrate by decorating with flowers, or giving them to women as presents. In Italy, yellow mimosas are popular. Russians give a variety of flowers, including red roses. In Hanoi, Vietnam, it’s not just boyfriends and husbands giving flowers to the women in their lives, but also bosses and colleagues.

3. Donate money to women’s causes.
In the United States, in 2012, micro-lending non-profits such as Kiva launched a campaign to remind women to help women around the world by investing in their futures. Kiva.org/women will connect you to women who need loans.

4. Protest.
International Women’s Day was born of activism — the holiday was founded in 1910, when a German woman named Clara Zetkin proposed that every country devote a day to the needs and political demands of women. While in many countries, the holiday has taken on the sentimental status of days like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, women around the world use March 8 as an opportunity to fight for political freedom, equal pay and working rights, among other causes. The day was marked by protests in Turkey, Sri Lanka, and Palestine, among other countries.

5. Wear red lipstick.
In 2012, a marketing agency encouraged women across America to wear red lipstick in honor of International Women’s Day.

6. Stand on a bridge.
“Join Me on the Bridge” is a campaign for women’s equality that started with Rwandan and Congolese women, who met on a bridge joining their two countries as a demonstration that women could build bridges of peace. The first “Join me on the Bridge” events were held in 2010 when the Country Directors of Women for Women’s programs in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo had an idea that became the impetus for this global campaign. In its first year over 20,000 people took part with 119 events in 19 countries.

This year’s third global “Join me on the Bridge” campaign marked the 101th anniversary of International Women’s Day and thousands of women, men and children joined together on bridges across the world. On average, there are 464 events in 70 different countries, which is a staggering show of strength and solidarity with our sisters in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other war-torn countries.

7. Check out some art.
In Washington D.C., it would be a good day to patronize the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

8. Eat a cupcake.
In 2012, free cupcakes for women were available at select bars and restaurants in the U.S. and England. Some assert that the eat a cupcake campaign was great but not all women did not view this campaign in a positive light.

9. Defeat sexual harassment.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron signed a Council of Europe convention promising necessary legislative measures” against anyone committing “verbal, non-verbal or physical sexual harassment” in honor of International Women’ Day, Yahoo reports. The bill means that women can walk to work without having to worry about street harassment, which could range from stalking to wolf-whistling.

10. Look back — and forward about the progress of women.
Some assert that we have come a long way since the first International Women’s Day more than 100 years ago, when women in America did not yet have the right to vote. But events of the last year — as politics and women’s concerns about violence against women and reproductive health— prove that there is still work to be done. That’s just in America. Around the world, women’s needs are even greater. International Women’s Day will show you how to help.

Sources: http://www.joinmeathebridge.org. Wikipedia. The Washington Post Style Blog, March 8, 2012.

Valentine’s Day

Holding Hands on Beach

Valentine’s Day marks a day for couples and sweethearts to celebrate their love and treasure their time together. As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, I thought it important to discuss the characteristics of healthy relationships.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), intimate partner violence results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men annually. Twenty-three percent of women and eleven percent of men aged 18 years or more have a lifetime history of intimate partner violence victimization. Prevention is key in domestic violence. With that understanding, this post discusses the characteristics of healthy relationship.

Characteristics of Healthy Romantic Relationships:

– Partnership: There is shared responsibility.

– Economic Equality: Freedom exists related to issues of work, school, and money.

– Emotional Honesty: Both parties feel safe to share fears and insecurities.

– Sexual Respect: Accepts that “no” means “no”.

– Physical Safety: Respects partner’s space and discusses issues without violence.

– Supportive/Trusting: Listens and understands, values partner’s opinion, and sensitive to other’s needs.

Characteristics of Abusive Relationships:

– Domination: Abuser decides. Servant-Master relationship.

– Economic Control: Withholds money.

– Emotional Manipulation: Uses jealousy, passion, and stress to justify actions.

– Sexual Abuse: Treats partners as sex object.

– Physical Abuse: Hit, choke, kick, punch, pull hair, twist arms, trip, bite.

– Controlling: Isolates partner from friends.

– Intimidating: Charming in public but menacing in private.

The abusive behaviors listed above are not comprehensive. The information should simply serve as a brief overview and to encourage the reader to seek more information. For further information on the topic of domestic violence, there are many websites that can provide comprehensive information on this topic including but not limited to: http://www.thehotline.org; and http://www.ncadv.org.

Source(s): Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Sanctuary for Families. National Domestic Violence Hotline. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Promising Solutions to Violence

Doctor

EVENT: Public Health Summit
TOPIC: Solutions to Violence
DATE: April 1-2, 2014
LOCATION: Louis W. Sullivan National Center for Primary Care, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

SUMMIT DESCRIPTION
The Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine (CHPM) sponsors the Annual Dr. Daniel S. Blumenthal Public Health Summit, which is intended to educate physicians, researchers, public health professionals, residents, students, and community members about emerging public health issues. This year the summit will focus on the importance of addressing violence as a public health problem for individuals, families, and communities across the life course.

Planned SESSIONS to include
Metropolitan Atlanta Violence Prevention Partnership: Practice-based Strategies • The King Center’s Response to Community Violence • The Community Action Network: Novel Approaches to Community Violence • Family Violence: Domestic Violence, Child Maltreatment, Suicide • The Surgeons’ Response to Violence •

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month: He loves me… He loves me not…

Classroom

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Teen Dating Violence (DV) Prevention and Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it during the month of February.

Like domestic violence, teen dating violence is a pattern of controlling, and abusive behaviors of one person over another within a romantic relationship. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse. It can occur in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It knows no boundaries and crosses race, socio-economic status, culture, and religion. Violence can happen to anyone.

Annually, 1 out of 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006). Many of these cases of teen dating violence could have been prevented by helping adolescents to develop skills for healthy relationships with others (Foshee et al. 2005). Like adults, teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Access to information is integral to breaking the cycle of violence. Toward that goal, I would like to direct your attention to very help informational resources related to domestic violence intervention, prevention, and community outreach. For further information on teen dating violence, here are several websites you can visit: http://www.thesafespace.org; and http://www.breakthecycle.org.

Sources: Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). http://www.thesafespace.org; and http://www.breakthecycle.org. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Help Stop Hate-Based Violence

Anxieties

You can combat hate based violence. Research indicates that thousands of people every year are victims of hate crime. For every reported case of hate violence, there are countless unreported incidents of hate based violence. The hate crime phenomenon presents complex and agonizing problems to countless communities nationwide. The problem has become more visible as federal and state officials increasingly track hate violence.

Some assert that, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual hate crime report offers the most comprehensive national picture currently available on the magnitude of this pressing problem. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SCLC) also monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and expose their activities. Research indicates that “…there are 932 known hate groups operating across the country, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, and others.” (Southern Poverty Law Center) The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that there are 28 known hate groups in the state of Pennsylvania alone. According to the research done on this phenomenon by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups is growing. American communities have learned that failure to address hate-based crimes can cause an isolated incident to result in widespread tension.

Hate crimes are unique because they have a special emotional and physical impact that extends beyond the original victim. Bias crimes intimidate others in the victim’s community, causing them to feel isolated, vulnerable, and unprotected by the legal system. By making members of a specific group fearful, angry and suspicious, these crimes polarize cities and damage the very fabric of our society.

While hate violence makes headlines, the positive actions of people across our nation are creating a different story. These people include but are not limited to a movement called Not In Our Town. Like other groups battling hate based violence, Not In Our Town highlights communities working together to stop hate. Not In Our Town videos and broadcasts highlight and celebrate people who have developed creative anti-bias programs and responses. The stories chronicled by Not In Our Town have served to motivate many others to develop their own innovative initiatives which overpower the hateful actions and voices in their communities. Hate violence can be eradicated with an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action.

The non-profit sector offers information, education, and activism against hate violence. The list below contains a few of the organizations that offer resources or help communities respond to hate activities. Many of the national organizations listed below have local chapters. A brief list of national organizations battling hate based violence include but is not limited to:

National Organizations
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Web: http://www.adc.org
Combats media stereotyping, defamation, and discrimination against Americans of Arab descent through legal action and education.

American Jewish Committee
Web: http://ajc.org
Published, What to Do When the Militia Comes to Town

Anti-Defamation League
Web: http://www.adl.org
Combats anti-semitism and racial supremacist ideology, published Hate Crimes Laws: A Comprehensive Guide.

Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund
Community education, legal counseling and advocacy on behalf of victims of anti-Asian violence.

Center For Democratic Renewal
Web: http://www.thecdr.org
Published When Hate Groups Come to Town: A Handbook of Effective Community Responses.

Center for New Community
Web: http://www.newcomm.org
Publishes special reports on anti-immigrant groups.

Choosing to Participate
Web: http://www.facing.org/
Traveling exhibition featuring events in time when individuals and communities made decisions affecting the course of history.

Connect America
Points of Light Foundation
Web: http://www.pointsoflight.org/sponsors/connectamerica.cfm
Sponsors national “Join Hands Day”

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Web: http://www.cair-net.org
Published, Law Enforcement Official’s Guide to the Muslim Community.

NAACP
Web: http://www.naacp.org
Combats racism and fights for civil rights.
National Council of Churches
Web: http://www.ncccusa.org
Organized nationally to rebuild burnt churches in 1996.

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
Web: http://www.thetaskforce.org
Fights hate crime; monitors attacks on civil liberties.

The National Urban League
Web: http://www.nul.org
Increasing civil rights, educational and financial opportunities for African Americans through programs and research.

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
Web: http://www.pflag.org
Support for families of Gays and Lesbians with hundreds of local chapters.

Political Research Associates
Web: http://www.publiceye.org/
Think-tank monitoring the full spectrum of hate organizations.

Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Web: http://www.saldef.org/default.aspx?zone=misc.faq
Legal assistance and educational outreach for Sikh Americans. Civil rights advocacy.

Southern Poverty Law Center
Web: http://www.splcenter.org
Reports on hate crime and advances the legal rights of victims of injustice. Home of Klanwatch.)

Study Circles Resource Center
Web: http://www.studycircles.org
Helps communities and organizations begin small democratic, discussion groups that can make significant progress on difficult issues including race.)

100 Black Men of America
Web: http://www.100blackmen.org
Helps young African Americans to overcome financial and cultural obstacles through mentoring, anti-violence, education and economic development programs.

Source(s): Southern Poverty Law Center, FBI Hate Crimes Annual Report, 100 Black Men of America, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Study Circles Resource Center, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Center For Democratic Renewal, Choosing to Participate, NAACP, National Urban League, Connect America, PFLAG, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Photo credit Microsoft Clip Art

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2014

women of color

March 10th is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Office on Women’s Health, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI) as National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Fortunately, HIV/AIDS is preventable. Nevertheless, each year, HIV/AIDS continues to destroy countless lives. HIV/AIDS takes the greatest toll among African-Americans, Latinos and MSM of all races. The rate of new infections among blacks is seven times the rate among whites. Among Hispanics, the rate of new HIV infections is three times as high as that among whites. And according to a recent CDC analysis, the HIV diagnosis rate among MSM is forty-four (44) times that of other men.

One out of four HIV cases in our nation are among women and girls, thirteen years of age and older; and two out of three of these women and girls are African-American. Given these grim statistics, this pressing public health issue challenges each of us to be “our sisters’ keepers.” This National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, you can choose to make a difference in the lives of others. Toward that end, take action in the fight against HIV and raise awareness of its impact on women and girls.

Get tested. Encourage every female within your sphere of influence to be tested for HIV/AIDS. Additionally, you can plan or support HIV prevention efforts in your community. Learn about the Take Charge Take the Test campaign to encourage African American women to get tested for HIV.

With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action, each of us can educate members of our community about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the importance of knowing your HIV status. For further information about HIV/AIDS, visit the following websites: Centers for Disease Control’s website at http://www.cdc.gov ; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Office on Women’s Health at http://www.womenshealth.gov/NWGHAAD/

Source(s): Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), HIV Surveillance Report: Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2009.; Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI)

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art