Sunday, August 23, 2009

Overcoming Domestic Abuse; National Marriage Boycott; The Greening of Music

August 17 - August 23

Hey Changemakers,

A remarkable story came to a happy conclusion on this week and had our entire team celebrating.

A few months ago, a woman named Privilege contacted our Human Trafficking blog asking for help. Like thousands of women each year, she had been brought to the U.S. by a brutally abusive husband who sexually abused and physically enslaved her.

Against all odds, Privilege managed to escape with her children after 9 years of surviving the abuse. However, she didn't have a work visa and had no way to support her children, and her application for a "U Visa" for survivors of domestic violence and sexual exploitation was being held up.

At her request we published Privilege's story, and another reader who works at a local social service agency responded in the comments section with advice and connected Privilege to an attorney who could help her navigate visa application process.

Then, this week, Privilege sent us the following good news:

"Today my attorney called me to inform me that I am now a U Visa recipient!!! I can now earn a living for myself and decide how my life will go!!! I have been waiting two months short of ten years for this moment. There is a God out there and He has smiled on me! Thank you to everyone who prayed for me and called and wrote to USCIS on my behalf. A new day has dawned."

We couldn't be happier for the remarkable woman we're proud to call a member of the community.

Special thanks goes to our Human Trafficking blogger Amanda Kloer and member Jennifer V. for their role in making this possible. If you want to send Privilege your best wishes, please add a comment at the bottom of this blog post. And if you want to find out how you can help more women like Privilege, visit our friends at the Tahirih Justice Center.

For more of this week's top news and commentary from the world of change, see the summaries below:


Top Actions This Week

Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
by Human Rights Campaign
Take action »

Unlock the Camps in Sri Lanka
by Amnesty International USA
Take action »

Make 'No Hunger' - Al Gore's Next Movie
by Action Against Hunger
Take action »

Start a Petition »

National Marriage Boycott
While politicians in Washington stall on addressing the federal prohibition on same-sex marriage, students across the country are taking things into their own hands. Recently a group of Stanford students created The National Marriage Boycott, a grassroots movement of people who are pledging not to get married until everyone - including gay couples - have the same rights to civil marriage. The organization has been gaining momentum and is now a finalist for a $10,000 grant to expand their network. Read more to see how to vote for their project. (Read more)


The Greening of Music
iTunes are good for the planet. Sure, digital downloads have been blamed for eviscerating the music industry's profit model. But as Stop Global Warming blogger Emily Gertz writes, compared to commerce in compact discs, they're great for the climate. Digital music cuts the energy and carbon dioxide overhead by 40 to 80 percent over distribution of a physical CD. Given those numbers, it makes the most sense for the health of the Earth to buy your Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga or Beyoncé over the Internet. (Read more)


Beer vs. Marijuana
Would legalizing marijuana spark a reduction in alcohol abuse? That's a question tackled by Criminal Justice blogger Matt Kelley, who looks at one new book that suggests marijuana prohibitions have fueled dangerous drinking habits. What's more, it seems that the alcohol industry is heavily invested in keeping marijuana illegal. That's a bad thing across the board, both for U.S. drug policy and for a bloated criminal justice system. (Read more)


Hurricane Katrina Anniversary
This weekend marks the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and the devastation that the storm wrought on the Gulf Coast. There's a clamor underway among poverty activists to get President Obama to mark this anniversary with a renewed pledge to fight for equitable recovery of the Gulf Coast. It's too bad, according to Poverty in America blogger Leigh Graham, that these calls are falling on deaf ears at the White House. If we learned anything from Hurricane Katrina, it's that we need an inclusive framework for fighting poverty and inequality. (Read more)


Accepting Female Abuse
A striking study from UNICEF reveals how many women across the world think it's acceptable for a man to hit his wife - ranging from 54% in India to 90% in Jordan. Women's Rights blogger Jen Nedeau notes how this reflects the sad reality of widespread domestic violence across the globe, which in many places is seen as a regular fact of life. Given how entrenched these attitudes seem to be, what will it take to end this abuse? (Read more)


We hope everyone had a great weekend,

- The Team


Posted by,

Jerin Alam

National NOW Young Feminist Task Force

NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force Chair

National Organization for Women (NOW)

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