Yesterday, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama stated that “…Women deserve equal pay for equal work… Deserves to have a baby without sacrificing — job. A mother deserves — day off. …” The President Obama says it’s time to do away with “Mad Men” era policies. Equal pay for equal work is a simple matter of fairness.
Almost five years ago, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, with Lilly Ledbetter, who suffered twenty (20) years of pay discrimination. Data indicates that working women in the United States are paid an average of eighty (80) cents for every dollar paid to men. Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The pay gap is even larger for most women of color; on average, black women earn about seventy (70) cents, and Latinas about sixty (60) cents, of every dollar paid to all men. Our daughters and granddaughters should know that they’ll enter the workforce as equals to their male counterparts. But it’s going to take a real effort to get this done.
The Equal Pay Act, the law that was supposed to make equal pay for equal work a reality, is in bad shape. That’s why right now, the people from all around the country are picking up their telephones to take action– and you can join them. Call the White House comment line and urge the President to get the ball rolling on closing the wage gap by prohibiting federal contractors from punishing or firing workers who talk about their salaries with co-workers. This action from the President would address one piece of the Paycheck Fairness Act and protect nearly a quarter of the federal civilian workforce despite congressional gridlock.
President Kennedy called the Equal Pay Act “a first step” to ending the widespread practice of paying women less than men for the same amount of work. And that’s exactly what it was: a first step. 50 years later, we’re still fighting this fight, and women STILL make 23 cents less on the dollar. House Democrats have proposed a solution — the Paycheck Fairness Act — but Republicans voted to block this legislation from even coming to a vote. That is unacceptable.
In 1996, Equal Pay Day was established by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. For the past thirty-two (32) years, the National Committee on Pay Equity has been working diligently to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.
In 1979, the National Committee on Pay Equity was founded as a coalition of women’s and civil rights organizations; labor unions; religious, professional, legal, and educational associations, commissions on women, state and local pay equity coalitions and individuals working to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.
When the Equal Pay Act passed nearly 50 years ago, a woman earned an average of 59 cents for every dollar a man made. Today, she makes 77 cents. The annual gap between men and women’s median annual wages is a staggering $10,849. With more and more families relying on women’s wages to support them in an ailing economy, shortchanging women nearly $11,000 a year is inexcusable.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is an important step in the continuing struggle for women’s rights. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would take several steps towards closing the wage gap, including: clarifying acceptable reasons for differences in pay between men and women; prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about or disclose information about employers’ wage policies and their pay rates; making it easier to file class action lawsuits based on equal pay; and requiring the EEOC to survey current pay data and obliging employers to submit pay data identified by race, sex and national origin of employees.
Help 9 to 5 and other advocacy organizations to make this very necessary change: Contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to support and sign on to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Women have waited too long for equal wages. We, as a nation, cannot afford to wait any longer. —9 to 5
Fair Pay Act of 2013 – Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on account of sex, race, or national origin. (Allows payment of different wages under seniority systems, merit systems, systems that measure earnings by quantity or quality of production, or differentials based on bona fide factors that the employer demonstrates are job-related or further legitimate business interests.)
Prohibits the discharge of, or any other discrimination against, an individual for opposing any act or practice made unlawful by this Act, or for assisting in an investigation or proceeding under it.
Directs courts, in any action brought under this Act for violation of such prohibition, to allow expert fees as part of the costs awarded to prevailing plaintiffs. Allows any such action to be maintained as a class action. Directs the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to:
(1) undertake studies and provide information and technical assistance to employers, labor organizations, and the general public concerning effective means available to implement this Act; and (2) carry on a continuing program of research, education, and technical assistance with specified components related to the purposes of this Act. Makes conforming amendments relating to congressional and executive branch employees to the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 and the Presidential and Executive Office Accountability Act.
Source(s): ABC NEWS. http://www.govtrack.us. Wikipedia. 9 to 5. The National Committee on Pay Equity. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Action Alert DCCC.org.
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This year, Earth Day is being recognized on Sunday, Apr 22. It is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth’s natural environment.
Celebrate Earth Day everyday. Do not throw out gently used items and goods that are still working and in great shape. Keep them out of the landfill by donating them. When we donate items, our earth awareness can not only decrease the already exploding landfills but also serve to improve the quality of life for many of our nation’s most vulnerable persons. Let’s all be good stewards of this beautiful place we call our home.
On April 22, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2012 and help Mobilize the Earth™. People of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection. Together we will stand united for a sustainable future and call upon individuals, organizations, and governments to do their part.
Earth Day 2012 Event
Earth Day on the National Mall in Washington DC will be the centerpiece of Earth Day in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of environmentally-conscious people from all walks of life and all parts of the country will be joined by civic leaders and celebrities for this special event to galvanize the environmental movement.
Participants on the National Mall will be standing in solidarity with the millions of people rallying at Earth Day events around the world from Rome to Rio, Beijing to Beirut. Together, we will Mobilize The Earth and build a sustainable future.
Earth Day On the National Mall
- Free and open to the public
- Top musical talent
- Prominent speakers and celebrities
- Youth rally and voter registration
- Live news coverage, global webcast
- Renewable energy demonstrations
- Non-profit and embassy booths
- Interactive exhibits
Earth Day on the National Mall 2010 musical headliners included Sting, John Legend, Joss Stone, The Roots, Mavis Staples, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Weir and more. Speakers included James Cameron, Jesse Jackson, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Denis Hayes, Billy Demong, Robert Kennedy Jr. and many others.
Source(s): earthday.org, Wikipedia.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Every two (2) minutes, in this nation a person is sexually assaulted. Forty-four percent of the victims of sexual assault are under the age of 18. Eighty percent of the victims are under the age of 30.
The month of April has been designated as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). During the month, as recognition of the prevalence of this pressing public health issue, community outreach and education campaigns are run to highlight available resources to prevent sexual abuse. The overarching goals of Sexual Assault Awareness Month are to raise public awareness about the prevalence of sexual violence and to educate communities and people on how to prevent this pressing public health issue.
Each day, people witness a continuum of behaviors that range from being respectful and safe, to sexually abusive and violent. A primary prevention approach helps to create environments where people are safe in their relationships, families, neighborhoods, schools, work places and communities. This year’s, Sexual Assault Awareness Month brings together resources and information, thus offering everyone the opportunity to address behaviors before sexual violence occurs.
Today, the President of the United States issued the 2012 National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation. President Obama aptly stated in the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation that, “It is up to all of us to ensure victims of sexual violence are not left to face these trials alone. Too often, survivors suffer in silence, fearing retribution, lack of support, or that the criminal justice system will fail to bring the perpetrator to justice. We must do more to raise awareness about the realities of sexual assault; confront and change insensitive attitudes wherever they persist; enhance training and education in the criminal justice system; and expand access to critical health, legal, and protection services for survivors. As we fight sexual assault in our communities, so must we combat this crime within our Armed Forces.”
In the 2012 National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation, President Obama went on to say that, “With the leadership of Vice President Joe Biden, my Administration is working to stop sexual violence before it begins and ensure justice for the countless men, women, and children who have already been harmed. Last year, we introduced comprehensive guidance to schools, colleges, and universities to clarify their obligations under existing civil rights law to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault.”
“In January, we issued a revised definition of rape that will improve our understanding of where and how often this crime occurs. And today, we are collaborating with private organizations and agencies at every level of government to bolster advocacy and assistance for victims of sexual violence. All of us share a responsibility to those in need. By standing with survivors of rape and sexual assault and helping them secure the support and services they deserve, we do right by the ideals of compassion and service at the heart of the American character. For additional information and resources, visit: www.WhiteHouse.gov/1is2many.”
Source(s): President Obama’s Proclamation Sexual Assault Awareness month 2012. National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998. U.S. Department of Justice. 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2003. U.S. Department of Justice. 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2004. 1998 Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls. 1998. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. 1995 Child Maltreatment Survey. 1995. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. 2000. World Health Organization. 2002. U.S. Department of Justice. 2005 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2005.
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While renewal is often associated with spring, every season can be a time for rejuvenation, growth, and change; and summer is no exception. Who says there is no room for “spiffing” up a space this time of year? Summertime can be an ideal time to primp and polish! Here is a fun and easy way to revamp a room in a flash with a splash:
Tip No. 2 – Donate clothes and accessories that are new or in good condition that you never wear.
Out with the old and end with the new! Not only is donating a great way to easily clear up your closet space, but it is also great way to give back in a meaningful way.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
For many Americans, one constant in the holiday season is food. We have food at parties, food at the office, and at social events. During this time of the year, food is often so abundant that one of the common complaints that is heard from people is how much weight they have gained. We’ve all heard it.
It is important that we try and remember that many in our country will have limited or no food at this time of the year. And that this time is just like most other times in their lives- one of hunger and need. This is real hunger, not the growling stomach that you may experience between meals. This is the type of hunger where parents worry if they or their children will eat at all that day, or if what they can afford will be enough. It’s the kind of hunger that negatively impacts health.
According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture state-by-state report on national “food insecurity,” a term that means hunger or susceptibility to it, paints a bleak picture. During the recent recession, many U.S. households suffered job losses, declining incomes, home foreclosures, and diminished net worth. Food security means having dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living-is vulnerable to these financial challenges. In 2009, 14.7 percent of U.S. households (17.4 million) were food insecure, meaning that at some time during the year, they had difficulty providing enough food for all members of their family due to insufficient resources. Although essentially unchanged from 2008 (14.6 percent), food insecurity remains at the highest level observed since food security surveys were initiated in 1995.
According to the national news, food pantries across the country have experienced record high levels of requests for assistance. As a volunteer at a local poverty program that provides food assistance, I have seen the record level requests for assistance first hand. As a result, the food pantry shelves were nearly bare. These feeding agencies can’t do it alone. As you prepare for holiday celebrations, please keep in mind those who are most in need in our communities and donate to a nonprofit agency serving the most vulnerable members of our society. With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action –we can improve the human condition.
Sources: United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 and 2009; Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008; http://www.share.org; http://www.feedamerica.org; and Food Research and Action Center.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art