TALK’n TROUBLE: Giving thanks, and…

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We traditionally celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November by getting together with family and friends over a typically gluttonous feast, maybe watching some football or a parade. We count our blessings and enjoy a day off – unless, of course, you’re the host or, more likely, the hostess who plans, shops for, cooks, serves, and cleans up after the festivities.

It is important to take time to give thanks for the many good things in our lives. That act can help keep us grounded and humble. Those of us who have our health, family, and a home are the lucky ones. Gratitude for those essentials might inspire us to help our neighbors who are houseless, food insecure, or struggling to make ends meet. If you are reading this, you are likely to have what you need and plenty of good fortune to acknowledge and to share.

There are other crucial things we should think about at this time, too. Now feels like a good time to consider our rights as free people in a democracy. Not necessarily ‘things’ to be thankful for – because we fought hard for them and we believe we deserve them as human beings. But, we need to acknowledge the vulnerability of those rights – especially at this moment in time.

 Please be reminded, the right to vote was not granted to women. We knew it was ours and we united; we took it in 1920. Allied, we have continued to win and claim our rights and to make gains toward equity ever since. Nonetheless, the saying “we’ve come a long way” begs the question; have we come far enough? Our answer is, “Hell no!” 

Trouble was deliberately launched in 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. That hard-won milestone that finally prohibited the exclusion of women from our democratic process isn’t necessarily something to be thankful for. It’s definitely something to be cherished and motivated by. It’s also something to be vigilant about. Voting rights are threatened today across the country in so many ways. 

Trouble was deliberately launched in 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. That hard-won milestone that finally prohibited the exclusion of women from our democratic process isn’t necessarily something to be thankful for. It’s definitely something to be cherished and motivated by. It’s also something to be vigilant about. Voting rights are threatened today across the country in so many ways. 

The Brennan Center for Justice says, “Over the last 20 years, states have put barriers in front of the ballot box — imposing strict voter I.D. laws, cutting voting times, restricting registration, and purging voter rolls. These efforts, which received a boost when the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act in 2013, have kept significant numbers of eligible voters from the polls, hitting all Americans, but placing special burdens on racial minorities, poor people, and young and old voters.”

None of our rights can ever be taken for granted. Note the current trend across many states toward limiting or banning access to abortion. The recently implemented Texas law is the most drastic so far. It would prohibit abortions before many women even know they’re pregnant. While this near-total abortion ban is temporarily blocked by a federal judge, the state has moved quickly to appeal. This and other threats to reproductive rights have far-reaching consequences for women’s lives, families, and futures. We all need to pay attention to any effort to take away our freedom and deny us control of our own bodies.

The highly respected, peer-reviewed medical journal, The Lancet reports, “Restrictions on access to abortion are detrimental to an individual’s right to health. But they also seriously jeopardize health equity. They are just one part of a conservative agenda to restrict health-care coverage and go hand in hand with a broader racist and anti-poor agenda that is bad for people’s health and bad for the USA.”

 Since 1920 there have certainly been strides toward gender equity in the workplace, but we are still fighting for equal pay. There have been gains in leadership, yet still, far fewer females are CEOs. Advances in political representation are happening but no surprise, the country still doesn’t seem ‘ready’ to elect a woman president.

According to equalitynow.org, “80 percent of people in the United States think that men and women are guaranteed equal rights in the U.S. Constitution.” Trouble is, that’s not true! It took forty years of fighting for Congress to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972. Section one states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Sounds simple, obvious, and non-partisan. It wasn’t until last year – in 2020 – that the ERA was finally ratified by the requisite 38 states. Now it’s held back by an arbitrary deadline that was set by Congress 50 years ago.

On January 21, 2021, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), and Congressman Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) announced bipartisan legislation calling for that deadline to be rescinded. If passed, it would clear the way for the Amendment to become part of the U.S. Constitution. The ERA would – once and for all – ensure that gender discrimination based on sex has no place in the United States.

We can do this! Call on your Senators and Representatives to eliminate the deadline. Wouldn’t that be something to be thankful for? That you recognized and used your power as a voter to influence an enormously important and impactful piece of legislation. That’s Trouble in action!

Don’t forget there is work still to do, TroubleMakers! We hope to inspire you to get involved in any way you can, with financial support – like the kind we try to provide, with political action at local, state, and federal levels, and vigilance and personal effort in your workplace and community.

Be thankful for the ability to stand up for what’s ours. Be motivated by the challenges still faced by women and girls in every realm of society. When you’ve digested your Thanksgiving Day meal, the game is over, all the dishes are done, and the folks go home, take a moment to think about those inequities we still need to confront. Consider the many threats to our rights and freedom, all the obstacles we have yet to overcome. Please join us in supporting those organizations working to make our world a more equitable, inclusive place.

Stay tuned for more insights and inspiration.

Share the cool stuff you learn here with the TroubleMakers you know and love.

SPEAK UP – SPEAK OUT. THIS REALLY MATTERS.

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