Activism Roundup

How to take action this week

Arbitrary enforcement of immigration laws prevents many immigrants from speaking up about injustice and unfair treatment. Recently, an immigrant justice advocate fighting against inhumane treatment and racial profiling in deportation processes was served a Notice to Appear by ICE. It is important to protect every voice and every person in our fight for immigrant rights. What can you do? Sign the petition to rescind the deportation order against Maru Mora Villapando today.

On Tuesday, January 30th, the President will deliver the State of the Union address. Women from across the country will be gathering in Washington, D.C. for The State of OUR Union to “understand the state of our nation through the eyes and experiences of women, and chart a path together, towards real solutions in the culture, policies and politics that shape our lives.” Speakers will include Ai-jen Poo, Alicia Garza, Tarana Burke, and Mónica Ramirez, along with domestic workers, farmworkers, and immigrant women sharing their stories. The event will be livestreamed. Sign up here to get a reminder to watch. (Spanish interpretation available.)

WSCADV celebrates 25 Years

It’s WSCADV’s 25th year and I’ve been here for seven of those years. To celebrate, I went down memory lane through my “favorite emails” folder and found some pretty remarkable quotes from coworkers, member programs, and activists from halfway across the world. Here is my favorite from each year I’ve worked here.25th-Anniversary-Seal

  1. “BRAVO to you and your staff for leading the way here and across the nation!”
  2. “If this does not make your day, we need to call the coroner.”
  3. “Warm greetings from Kampala! So nice to be in touch with you and the Washington Coalition – we feel connected to all of you but don’t actually know you…We are really excited to adapt In Her Shoes for the African context.”
  4. “My goodness, did we do all that at our gathering? You and the others did an awesome job of capturing all that was said. Keep up the GOOD work!!!”
  5. “Amazing women doing amazing work in amazing conditions here. Food is great. Malaria pills are fine. Saw one elephant, four peacocks, and a bunch of camels.”
  6. “I have been supported here to dream big, think carefully, act pragmatically, and speak the truth as I saw it. It has been amazing, and I have been very proud to be a part of our work together. Leaving here is tough, because I love this org and all the people in it.”
  7. “Thank you so much for taking the time and always providing us with the support we need.”

I won’t be asking permission

tattooI always knew that I wanted a tattoo. They are a beautiful and unique way of expressing one’s self. I’m sure that anyone who’s gotten inked has their own story of the why, the where, the when.

I got my first tattoo ten years ago, shortly after I moved to Seattle. I didn’t tell my family or many of my Indian friends. It was an act of rebellion only because of my assumptions of what others would say. I also knew that it was what I wanted.

My tattoo has gotten a lot of responses. I’ve heard: “I didn’t think you were the kind of person who got a tattoo.” or “Why did you get a tattoo there?” or “What did your parents say?”

Last week I got a new one:

Dude: Would you get another tattoo?
Me: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it.
Dude: What would you get?
Me: Maybe a half sleeve.
Dude: Don’t you think you should wait until you get married?
Me: No, why?
Dude: Wouldn’t you want to get permission from your husband? What if he’s not attracted to it?

Seriously?! I was so mad I can’t remember exactly what I said, but (1) I have never gotten permission for any of my tattoos or what I do with my body and I am not going to start now, (2) if someone is not attracted to me because of my tattoos or thinks that I need to ask their permission for the choices I make, then they have no business being with me, and (3) it’s 2015, buddy, do you really want to be saying that kind of thing?

Women are under an incredible amount of pressure to meet other people’s expectations. Women are judged for their tattoos and people make all sorts of weird assumptions about them. But I do not plan on ever asking for permission from anyone about what I do with my body; I may decide to get other people’s opinions, but ultimately it’s my choice.