To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. —Ralph Waldo Emerson I had never understood until this weekend’s Woodhull Alumnae Retreat what it meant to be fully present with myself. It amazed me how I could spend a whole weekend being elatedly content to look at the sky, walk the lands, taste the fruits of the earth, watch the hawks circling for their next feast and listen to the playful arias of the birds. At dawn, rays of light peaked mysteriously through the branches. If I stared long enough the faces of time stared right back at me. The quiet wind kissing each branch lovingly until they danced to meet its rhythm. Sometimes clinging tightly to each other. Other times bouncing away from each other’s energy. Here in the woods, the rustle of a single dry leaf along with the crunch of our footsteps seemed as if we were walking with a hundred men instead of four women. Oh to be a tree. My bark rough, strong and dark. My sap sweet, nourishing and inviting. My feet firmly grounded in the earth like the same tangled web of roots that cannot, will not be uprooted. Someday soon. But for now I roam in quiet contemplation of my place amongst God’s magnificent creatures. Patricia Philippe, Woodhull Master Writer’s Class Alumnae
THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release April 11, 2011 NATIONAL EQUAL PAY DAY, 2011 – - – - – - – BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION Generations of women have fought for the advancement of their sisters, daughters, and themselves in acts of great courage — reaching for and winning the right to vote, breaking barriers in America’s universities and boardrooms, and flooding the modern workforce with skilled talent. While our Nation has come far, obstacles continue to exist for working women, who still earn less on average than working men. Each year, National Equal Pay Day reflects how far into the current year women must work to match what men earned in the previous year. On National Equal Pay Day, we rededicate ourselves to carrying forward the fight for true economic equality for all, regardless of gender. When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963, women earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Though women today are more likely than men to attend and graduate from college, women still earn an average of only about 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Even when accounting for factors such as experience, education, industry, and hours, this wage gap persists. Over the course of her lifetime, this gap will cost a woman and her family lost wages, reduced pensions, and diminished Social Security benefits.
An article in the New York Times on Sunday revealed that there is a shortage of one of the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections for the death penalty. Sodium Thiopental, an anesthetic, manufactured by Hospira, recently announced that it would no longer produce the drug to be used for executions. In Europe, where the drug is also manufactured and used in operating rooms, companies have also refused to export the drug to those countries that use it on inmates to be put to death.
Given the high technology when it comes to anesthetics, there are, of course, alternatives. Pentobarbital is one though it is used infrequently on human beings and rather to euthanize dogs and cats. True, there is little difference in the two drugs that ostensibly put the patient (human or animal) to sleep before the third part of the fatal cocktail is dripped into the vein. Both drugs come from the same family of barbiturates and efficiently depress the nervous system where the victim/patient/animal/human’s brain is put to sleep which results in the victim/patient to forget to breath, or the drug decreases blood pressure where sufficient blood is not pumped to the heart.
Woodhull alum Kristen Kemp teamed with Stacey Lannert to write Stacey’s memoir about coming of age in the parallel universe of the prison system. On July 4, 1990, eighteen-year-old Stacey shot and killed her sexually abusive father who had been hurting her since she was eight. Missouri state law, a disbelieving prosecutor, and Stacey’s own fragile psyche conspired against her: She was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.
Little did Stacey know that she would find freedom from behind bars through telling her story and reaching out to others. After 20 years of incarceration, Stacey was granted clemency by Missouri’s governor.
At age 36, she became a free woman in January, 2009. Since then, Stacey has been a guest on Oprah, Joy Behar and NPR. Kristen often tags along doing behind-the-scenes writerly duties.
Geraldine Ferraro, who famously said, “sometimes the best leader is a woman” was not the first female to run for the presidency of the USA. Victoria Woodhull was. But Ferraro, like Woodhull, was a fighter, a woman who clearly saw the obstacles placed before talented, ambitious women and the sexism that made women who sought power laughing stocks in a world run by pompous male pundits and corrupt male politicians.
Victoria Woodhull was nominated for President of the United States by the newly formed Equal Rights Party on May 10, 1872. A year before, she’d announced her intention to run. In 1871, she spoke vehemently against a government composed only of men and proposed a new constitution and a new government that gave women political rights. Her nomination was ratified at the convention on June 6, 1872. Former slave Frederick Douglass was nominated for Vice President.
by Tara Sophia Mohr, Woodhull Alumna
Something very sweet happened this week. The Girl Effect organization named me as a “Girl Champion of 2010.” You can see their post about it here.
I want to tell you the story of how this came about, because I think it says a lot about what actually allows us to play big, and what actually causes us to get recognition.
So here’s the story.
Back in October, I made a new friend, Rachel Cole, a fellow life coach. Rachel told me about how much she loved food and community, and how she had organized a series of large, open-to-everyone food gatherings where everyone had to bring something homemade. They became a very hot thing here in San Francisco.
She told me about her “Wisdom books,” blank books she creates and distributes. People write a piece of wisdom and then pass it on to the next person, who writes their piece of wisdom. Dozens of these are circulating around the world. In the end the books get mailed back to her, and she’s going to do something amazing with them.