Here, There and Everywhere

Archive for November, 2012

She Was Loved and Murdered

Dear Gabriel,

W1212EAIAR1“Noxolo was loved for being a mother, friend, soccer player and activist, she will never be forgotten by her loved-ones.”
– Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee Colleagues

Why did she die?

Noxolo Nogwaza was murdered on her way home from a night out with friends. In the early hours of April 24, 2011, her attacker(s) raped, repeatedly beat and stabbed the 24 year-old—apparently because of her sexual orientation. Noxolo was an activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights in South Africa.

A year after her death, no progress has been made in the investigation into her murder and her killer(s) remain at large. Help change that. Demand justice for Noxolo.

She was a member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee, an organization that aims to empower and inform LGBTI people and to combat hate crimes, victimization and injustice through education and awareness-raising activities.

Sadly, homophobia and hate crimes against LGBTI individuals are common in South Africa, particularly against those living in townships and rural areas. Definitive statistics are difficult to obtain as the South African government does not classify rapes according to sexual orientation. However, in the last five years, there have been at least 10 reported cases of rape followed by murder of lesbians in townships across the country.

South African authorities must urgently take steps to put an end to these crimes. With your help, we can make sure that they do.

Please take action now. Tell the Police Commissioner to thoroughly investigate Noxolo’s death and bring her killer(s) to justice.

Thank you for standing with us.

Sincerely,

Linda Harris and Sadie Healy
Country Specialists, South Africa
Amnesty International USA

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Over 100 Million Years Old

Dear Gabriel,

Adopt a sea turtle for a loved one this holiday season – and be a part of the urgent fight to save these ancient creatures.

When you adopt a sea turtle before December 1, you’ll get 10% off. Just enter the code EARLYBIRD at checkout. Shipping is free!»

All seven species of sea turtle are over 100 million years old, making them some of the very few animals to survive since the time of the dinosaurs.

Many migrate across entire oceans every year from their feeding grounds to the beaches where they lay their eggs.

Along that route, they face danger. Many turtles are caught in fishing nets and held under water for hours – left to struggle for air and then drown.

But with your help, we can save them. Adopt a sea turtle and play an important role in reducing the dangers these amazing creatures face every day.

Don’t wait! The holidays are just around the corner. Adopt a sea turtle or other ocean animal and get 10% off before December 1 when you enter the code EARLYBIRD at checkout.

Adopting a sea turtle is easy. With one $75 gift, you’ll send your loved one an amazing gift unlike any other, all while helping protect these ancient creatures. Included in the sea turtle adoption pack:

• Cuddly plush sea turtle
• Personalized adoption certificate
• Sea turtle cookie cutter
• Seasonal cookie recipe
• Knowledge that their adoption is helping sea turtles around the world.

For just $5 extra, we’ll do the gift wrapping for you – and if you want to make your gift greener, you can send the certificate electronically!

And the best part? Shipping with delivery by Christmas is free for a limited time.

Oceana is working hard to win protections for sea turtles and other animals that get brutally killed as bycatch. Adopt a sea turtle today to make sure those efforts stay strong in the coming year.

Sea turtles need advocates – and by adopting one you’re becoming one of their strongest supporters. Adopt a sea turtle or other ocean animal today – shipping is free!

With so many sea turtles at risk, the right choice for gifts this season is adoptions. Thank you for all that you do.

For sea turtles everywhere,
Emily Fisher
Oceana

Health Care for Raped Soldiers

Dear Gabriel,

This is shocking, even for our U.S. Congress.

If a female employee of the U.S. State Department is raped while serving abroad in Afghanistan, her federal health plan will pay for an abortion should she become pregnant. However if a woman serving abroad as a member of the U.S. military is raped, her military health plan will NOT provide for an abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of that violent and reprehensible act.

According to a report earlier this year from Mother Jones, the Pentagon has an even more drastic policy on access to abortion than the Hyde Amendment which bans the use of federal funds for abortion care unless a woman has been the victim of rape, incest or she could literally die unless she her pregnancy is terminated.

This disparity is so unsettling that the Senate passed out of committee the “Shaheen Amendment” to give women in the military the same rights to affordable reproductive health services as the civilians they protect. But if passed by the full Senate, the extremists in Congress will try to block this proposal from the National Defense Authorization Act when it comes up for a vote in the House. The only way we can hope to stop it is with massive public pushback.

Click here to sign this petition automatically.

According to Kate Sheppard’s report in Mother Jones,2 there are 200,000 women serving on active duty in our military and in 2011 alone there were 471 reported instances of rape. But with the Pentagon itself estimating that only 13.5% of rapes are officially reported, that means around 3,500 service members are raped per year.

Women who are serving on military bases abroad can’t simply go to their local Planned Parenthood should they seek an abortion after finding themselves pregnant as a result of rape. And if there hasn’t been a formal finding of rape, a rape survivor in the military can’t even pay to have the procedure done in the medical facility on base. Many women serving in our armed forces are stationed in foreign countries where safe abortion care is not easily obtained outside our military bases. And it may not be possible or affordable for a raped woman soldier to travel to the United States in order to receive the care she needs. Our policies need to be reformed to ensure that women in the military who have been raped have access to the medical care they need.

As Senator Jean Shaheen who introduced the change to this heinous policy explained to Mother Jones, “Most of the women affected here are enlisted women who are making about $18,000 a year. They’re young, they don’t have access to a lot of resources. Many of them are overseas.”

A handful of Republicans in the Senate realized that protecting rape survivors is not a partisan issue and joined Democrats to pass this bill out of committee and work to provide relief to women in our armed services. But their colleagues in the House will not join them in helping to pass this much needed bill unless we force them to take action. We need to tell Republicans as well as anti-choice Democrats in the House (including the so-called Stupak Democrats who voted against women’s reproductive health in the Affordable Care Act)3 that we cannot let this policy stand.

CREDO is a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose and we will continue to work for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. But until then, even in our polarized Congress which is packed with anti-choice zealots, there are some lines that Republicans and anti-choice Democrats should be very afraid to cross. This is one of them. We cannot stand by and let women serving in the U.S. military be subjected to a stricter standard for abortion access than the already horribly restrictive Hyde Amendment.

Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6900213&p=military_choice&id=51136-266627-EiedzDx&t=10

This is one we can win if enough of us speak out. Thank you for taking action.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Uganda Bill to “Kill the Gays”

Gabriel –

The speaker of the Ugandan parliament has promised she will pass the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill in the next two weeks — she called it a “Christmas gift” for the Ugandan people. The bill would legalize the death penalty for LGBT people and people with HIV or AIDS.

Uganda experts say that one way to stop this bill is to get pressure from banks that have significant resources invested in the country, such as Citibank and Barclays.

Citibank and Barclays together have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in Uganda and wield significant influence in the country, just as banking lobbyists wield influence with Congress in the US. Citibank and Barclays speaking out against the “Kill the Gays” bill might be the best — and only — chance to stop it.

Collin Burton is a Citibank customer who is also gay. Collin started a petition on Change.org asking Citibank and Barclays to speak out against the “Kill the Gays” bill. Click here to sign Collin’s petition right now.

Citibank and Barclays are both big supporters of LGBT rights for their own employees, yet they invest money with a government that is threatening to execute LGBT people. “I expect Citibank and Barclays to live up to the values of equality and fairness, not just list them on their websites,” Collin says.

If Citibank and Barclays speak out against the “Kill the Gays” bill, Ugandan legislators will see that they are risking the business relationships that keep their government afloat.

Click here to sign Collin’s petition asking Citibank and Barclays to issue strong statements condemning Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. The bill could come up for a vote any day, so swift action is essential.

Thanks for being a change-maker,

– Mark Anthony and the Change.org team

Let the Wind Blow

Dear Gabriel,

It couldn’t be clearer that we need more jobs and sources of energy that don’t bring doom and gloom to the planet.

Yet we are we are weeks away from losing one of the most successful programs to promote wind energy in the U.S., and tens of thousands of the jobs that have come with it.

The Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), which expires at the end of the year, has been an unequivocal success since it was enacted in 1992. In addition to helping lower the cost of wind energy by 90% and power the equivalent of 12 million homes, the PTC supports 75,000 wind jobs and helps raise $20 billion in private investment in wind energy each year.

Tell Congress: Renew the Wind Production Tax Credit. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

The PTC should be a no-brainer. But the Koch brothers-linked American Energy Alliance and Americans for Prosperity are waging a major campaign to sink it, and many Republicans are going along.

These Republicans are cynically claiming that we can’t afford the $1 billion-a-year program, even as the very same Republicans vote repeatedly to protect billions more per year in tax cuts and giveaways for the oil industry.

Their obstruction could cost an estimated 37,000 wind jobs over the next year, and already wind companies facing the changing economics without the PTC have laid off thousands of workers.

Tell Congress: Renew the Wind Production Tax Credit. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

The PTC is a bipartisan policy originally authored by Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Even the rabidly anti-climate U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers support the program because it has been and continues to be a terrific investment. So any elected leader who votes against the PTC is doing so for one reason only: to protect polluters, even at the expense of American jobs.

The potential for wind energy in this country is massive — 20% of all our energy could come from wind by 2030, supporting half a million jobs. But the industry can’t grow without predictable policies. The PTC has been allowed to expire three times since 2000, and each time, new installed wind capacity, and jobs in the wind industry, have plummeted.

It should come as no surprise that it is extremely difficult for emerging sources of energy to compete, as the oil, gas and coal industries continue to benefit from nearly a century of government investment, subsidies, giveaways, tax breaks and now even a political system that has been shaped by their influence and money.

But for the sake of our future, clean sources of energy must not just compete, they must surpass fossil fuels. The PTC keeps us moving in the right direction and Congress should renew it right away.

Thank you for working for better energy policies.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

CARE CEO Gives Thanks

Dear Gabriel,

If your family is anything like mine, I’m sure you are busy preparing for the holiday this week. I hope you will take a moment to take a step back from the preparations and think about what is really important this Thanksgiving.

I wanted to wish you a joyful holiday full of good company, good food, and lots of love.

Here is a shortlist of things I am truly grateful for this holiday:

My family.

My dear friends.

My colleagues at CARE.

Getting to spend my days making the world a better place, and being able to see how much our work really does matter. You’ll never forget the look on a mother’s face when you’ve helped to save her child’s life – or given her child a chance to have a better life. I can never really express what it’s like in words, so maybe this picture will help:

The support of people like you. Your dedication to fighting global poverty by empowering poor families and communities is inspiring to me. I will never stop being grateful for these things.
From the CARE family to yours, happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

Grief’s Wake Up Call

Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something! Grief’s Wake Up Call.
by Gabriel Constans

Events that can and often do, devastate us emotionally, can also be used for personal transformation and growth. Some individuals find hope and opportunity in the midst of adversity. They reach out to help others find comfort and healing. Some succeed to change laws, institutions, policies and assumptions.

Meet Leah Rabin, Le Ly Hayslip, Maggie and Reg Green, Jeanne White, Hazel Johnson, Lee Mun Wah, Nane Alejandrez, Candace Lightner and others, to discover how they have found strength, courage and sheer tenacity to overcome the worst that can happen and use it as a catalyst to rediscover them selves and help others in the process.

What People have been saying about Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something!:

“In Don’t Just Sit There, we have the privilege of listening to these inspiring people as they tell us what they have endured and how. These are lessons on living that come direct from experience, lessons we all need. I hope this book reaches many, touching hearts and infusing us all with its wisdom.”
Ellen Bass, co-author of The Courage to Heal

“A deeply moving work … highly recommended for hospice workers, grief counselors, and ministers and as a powerful affirmation for life.”
NAPRA ReView

“Gabriel Constans searches out the key to living after a loss by interviewing survivors who use a variety of activities to cope with a death … this book is an inspiration to both the bereaved and those who support them.”
Lynne Ann DeSpelder, author of The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying

Please consider a copy for yourself, family member or friend at Fast Pencil Publishing.

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