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The Bella Bulletin MARCH 2018

FOLLOW US @ABZUGINSTITUTE Linda Brown and her Historical case The woman who paved the way for desegregation of public schools in the US has passed away. Read more about Linda Brown and her legacy on page 11.

BELLA & Bella Fella Awards! See page 3 for more information!

Congresswoman BELLA ABZUG WAY To honor her impact within the NYC Community and her legacy that lives on today, Bank St. was co-named “Congresswoman Bella S Abzug Way.” Read more on page 4.

Table of Contents THE BELLA & BELLA FELLAS AWARDS.………………..3 WOMEN’s History of the Month.............…………4 This Month at BALI…………………………………5 FEATURED Article of the Month………......……..6 Featured Headlines of the Month………………8 Class of 2017 Leader of the Month……………...9 ALUMNAE Spotlights ..............................................10 Trailblazer Tribute................................................11

Enrichment opportunities ...............................12 BALI STAFF & Board of Directors……….……....14 BELLA BULLETIN STAFF …………………………......15


Women’s History of the month:



NEXT STOP: Congresswoman Bella Abzug Way! Bella Abzug, the congresswoman, the longtime NYC resident, and the woman whose legacy lives on through BALI has been honored with her own street. You can find the sign for “Congresswoman Bella S. Abzug Way” on the corner of Bank St. and Greenwich Ave., just a block from where she lived for more than two decades. The street co-naming took place of the 20th anniversary of her death, March 31, 1998.

“Thank you to NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, his senior staff, former Councilmember Rosie Mendez, and Community Board 2, and Chairwoman Cude for helping to make this become a reality! Thank you to our own BALI team Oriela and Gaby for going around the West Village with members of Speaker Johnson’s staff, collecting neighbors’ petitions in support of the Bank street co-naming during Women’s History Month. Such an emotional afternoon!” -- BALI Founder and Executive Director, Liz Abzug

Featured Article of the Month Go Ahead, Millennials, Destroy Us By Tim Kreider, contributor to the New York Times March 2, 2018 As with all historic tipping points, it seems inevitable in retrospect: Of course it was the young people, the actual victims of the slaughter, who have finally begun to turn the tide against guns in this country. Kids don’t have money and can’t vote, and until now burying a few dozen a year has apparently been a price that lots of Americans were willing to pay to hold onto the props of their pathetic roleplaying fantasies. But they forgot what adults always forget: that our children grow up, and remember everything, and forgive nothing. Those kids have suddenly understood how little their lives were ever worth to the people in power. And they’ll soon begin to realize how efficient and endless are the mechanisms of governance intended to deflect their appeals, exhaust their energy, deplete their passion and defeat them. But anyone who has ever tried to argue with adolescents knows that in the end they will have a thousand times more energy for that fight than you and a bottomless reservoir of moral rage that you burned out long ago. Like most people in middle age, I regard young people with suspicion. The young — and the young at mind — tend to be uncompromising absolutists. They haven’t yet faced life’s heartless compromises and forfeitures, its countless trials by boredom and ethical Kobayashi Marus, or glumly watched themselves do everything they ever disapproved of.

I am creeped out by the increasing dogmatism and intolerance of millennials on the left; I felt a generational divide open up under me last year when everyone under 40 seemed to agree that Dana Schutz’s painting of Emmett Till in his coffin should be removed from the Whitney Biennial. When I was young it seemed the natural order of things that conservatives were the prudes and scolds who wanted books banned and exhibitions closed, while we liberals got to be the gadflies and iconoclasts. I know that whenever you disapprove of young people, you’re in the wrong, because you’re going to die and they’ll get to write history, but I just can’t help noticing that the liberal side isn’t much fun to be on anymore. Yet this uprising of the young against the ossified, monolithic power of the National Rifle Association has reminded me that the flaws of youth — its ignorance, naïveté and passionate, Manichaean idealism — are also its strengths. Young people have only just learned that the world is an unfair hierarchy of cruelty and greed, and it still shocks and outrages them. They don’t understand how vast and intractable the forces that have shaped this world really are and still think they can change it. Revolutions have always been driven by the young. Ever since Columbine, almost 20 years ago, I’ve absorbed the news of more mass shootings than I can count with an ulcerating rage that gradually scabbed over into deadened cynicism. To those of us who have lived with certain grim realities our whole adult lives — the widening moat between the rich and the rest of us, the sclerotic influence of money on politics, the N.R.A.’s unassailable coalition of greed and fear — they seem like facts of life as unalterable as death itself.


I’d come to the conclusion that America has always been a violent nation, from our founding genocide to the slave labor that built the country to the arsenal, unprecedented in human history, that maintains our empire. We spend $60 billion a year on pets but won’t go to any inconvenience to keep second graders from getting slaughtered. Despite all our competitive parenting and mommy machismo and trophy kids, we don’t really give a damn about our children — by which I mean, about one another’s. When a race stops caring for its young, its extinction is not only imminent but well deserved. But maybe my bitter complacence about our civilization’s irreversible decline is just a projection of my feelings about my own. Power is like money: imaginary, entirely dependent upon belief. Most of the power of institutions lies in the faith people have in them. And cynicism is also a kind of faith: the faith that nothing can change, that those institutions are corrupt beyond all accountability, immune to intimidation or appeal. Harvey Weinstein ultimately wasn’t the one enforcing the code of silence around his predations: It was all the agents and managers and friends and colleagues who warned actresses that he was too powerful to accuse. Once people stopped believing in his invulnerability, his destruction was as instantaneous as the middle school queen being made a pariah. Watch: As soon as the first N.R.A. A-rated congressman loses an election, other politicians’ deeply held convictions about Second Amendment rights will start rapidly evolving. The students of Parkland are like veterans coming home from the bloody front of the N.R.A.’s de facto war on children. They’ve seen their friends, teachers and coaches gunned down in the halls. To them, powerful Washington lobbyists and United States senators suddenly look like what they are: cheesy TV spokesmodels for murder weapons. It has been inspiring and thrilling to watch furious, cleareyed teenagers shame and vilify gutless politicians and soul-dead lobbyists for their complicity in the murders of their friends. Last week Wayne LaPierre was reduced to gibbering like Gen. Jack D. Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove” about a “socialist” takeover and “hardening” our schools. You could see the whites all around his irises. That look is fear.

One of my students once asked me, when I was teaching the writing of political op-ed essays, why adults should listen to anything young people had to say about the world. My answer: because they’re afraid of you. They don’t understand you. And they know you’re going to replace them. My message, as an aging Gen X-er to millennials and those coming after them, is: Go get us. Take us down — all those cringing provincials who still think climate change is a hoax, that being transgender is a fad or that “socialism” means purges and re-education camps. Rid the world of all our outmoded opinions, vestigial prejudices and rotten institutions. Gender roles as disfiguring as foot-binding, the moribund and vampiric two-party system, the savage theology of capitalism — rip it all to the ground. I for one can’t wait till we’re gone. I just wish I could live to see the world without us.

Critical Questions: 1) Do you think that young individuals will always be at the forefront of activism? Why or why not?

2) Do you agree with the author’s statement that the “flaws of youth” are also its strengths? Do you think that these flaws are accurate?


Headlines of the Month Florida High School Shooting Survivors Lead National Movement Since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, students and survivors including Emma Gonzalez, Alex Wind, David Hogg, and Cameron Kasky have started the #NeverAgain movement and led two national protests: the National School Walkout on March 14, and March for Our Lives. Next month, another national school walkout is scheduled to take place on April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

Stephon Clark Shot Dead Outside Of Family Home On March 18, 22 yearold Stephon Clark, a black man and father of two, was shot in his grandmother’s backyard by two police officers while he was unarmed in Sacramento, California. After a neighbor called 911 reporting that Clark was seen smashing car windows, the officers chased Clark on foot to his grandmother’s house and shot him 20 times when they thought they saw a weapon in his hand. All that was found with his body was a cellphone. His death has sparked largescale protests and rallies in Sacramento at City Hall and an NBA arena on March 23, and at the Capitol building on March 24. On March 22, just days after Clark’s murder, a deputy in Houston, Texas shot Danny Ray Thomas, a 34 year-old black man. Authorities have said that Thomas had “some object” on him before he was shot, but the Harris County Police Department stated that they have not yet recovered a weapon from Thomas’ body.

International Women’s Day 2018 On March 8, International Women’s Day, the world saw countless powerful protests dedicated to fighting for equal pay, abortion rights, the end of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as many other causes surrounding the rights of women. Among these protests was the Aurat March in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad Pakistan. This is the first march in Pakistan to call attention to women’s

rights and exemplifies the power of grassroots organizers, who planned the event over Facebook and Twitter. The march was dedicated to gaining recognition for women’s rights, to fighting back against violence against women, and to raising the morale of Pakistani women. In Spain, women demanded equal rights through a “domestic strike”, during which women in Spain ignored household chores, stayed home from work, and refrained from spending money. In addition to the strike, about 120 demonstrations took place throughout the country for the rest of the day.

Trump Signs $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill Friday, March 23, President Trump signed Congress’s $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, which will fund the government until the end of September. Some of the highly disputed aspects of the bill include it’s lack of a permanent solution for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), it’s major decrease in spending for a border wall, nearly prompting President Trump to veto the bill, and the “Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) Act”, requiring state law enforcement agencies to report criminal records to the system. Congress therefore has until September 30 to pass a new spending bill for the fiscal year of 2019.

Diplomacy Between the US and North Korea? Earlier this month, it was announced that President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un will take part in the first ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and the North Korean president sometime in the next few months. The announcement comes after a year of insults and threats exchanged between the two leaders, which was halted by a rare moment of diplomacy at the Winter Olympics in Pyongchang, South Korea. Reportedly, over dinner the North Korean leader said that he decided to freeze the nuclear missile tests so that South Korean president Moon Jae-in would not “lose sleep anymore.” This prompted continued diplomatic discussions which eventually led to the North Korean leader’s meeting invitation to the U.S. The two leaders are expected to negotiate North Korea giving up its nuclear-weapons program in exchange for economic support and military security from the U.S.



CLASS OF 2017: Leader of the Month

"My mother always told me "don't think, just do it." Because for every nervous moment- making a speech, reaching out for opportunities, being interviewed for colleges, dialing a phone number, starting a club- my stomach would feel queasy and my palms would get sweaty. Thoughts of doubt and "what ifs" started to run through my head. But as soon as I forced myself to stop thinking and just finish the task, I felt like I could conquer the world. As a young woman, I think it's important we teach girls of all ages how to take action. Too often we succumb to our fears. BALI has emphasized my belief that we can breakup with fear and once we do, we can achieve so much."

--Averill Wong, Freshman, Cornell University


ALUMNAE SPOTLIGHT: Women in action Gisselle Rodriguez Benitez Class of 2016

Rachel Mintz Class of 2017 Rachel Mintz, a senior at Livingston High School is employing skills she learned at BALI, and passionately fighting for justice in her community. About a month ago, the co-presidents of the politics club at her school approached her to be a panelist on their first student political forum. They asked six students to participate on a panel to discuss topical political issues. Rachel says she was honored to participate, and that the forum was a great success. Over 65 students and multiple teachers showed up to watch the discussion after school. Among the topics discussed were immigration, the economy, and America’s role in the world. Immigration was the topic she was most passionate about, being the daughter of an Argentinian immigrant. Rachel had the opportunity to defend and advocate for immigrant justice in front of students with various viewpoints. She got to argue against a system that would favor those coming from a position of privilege and exclude immigrants of color. Rachel says that after the forum, many students came up to her and told her that they were inspired by her words. It was an incredible experience to be able to use the public speaking skills and debate practice she gained during BALI to eloquently state her opinion in what became a heated debate, and to advocate for what she believes in.

Gisselle, the Bella Bulletin’s Editor-in-Chief, recently went to Nicaragua on an Alternative Spring Break to volunteer with an English literacy non-profit. The trip was completely sponsored by a civic engagement program Gisselle has taken part since starting last semester at Northeastern University. Her main reason for taking this opportunity is her deep concern with poverty in Central America. Her family grew up in rural El Salvador, and when she would visit the country as child, she quickly learned the struggles of families who could “barely afford the food they needed.” Regarding her family’s neighbors she says, “I felt helpless when I would see kids my own age selling food on the street instead of attending school.” In Nicaragua, Gisselle and the 12 others from Northeastern worked in groups to prepare and execute lesson plans for about 50 children. Students would vary in age and ability, and it was up to the volunteers to decide how to adjust lessons accordingly. Gisselle applauds the non-profit, Outreach360 for putting in effort into sustainable practices. The goal is for students to grow with the program and for the community of Jinotega, Nicaragua to get the most out of what the organization can provide. Gisselle hopes to go back this summer to work with Outreach360 and for others to join.


Pakistan’s First Transgender News Anchor Takes the Air

Linda Brown, of Historic Brown 1954 vs. Board case, dies

Original article from https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/27/asia/pakistantransgender-anchor-intl/index.html, by Sophia Saifi

Original article from https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwoway/2018/03/26/597154953/linda-brown-who-was-atcenter-of-brown-v-board-of-education-dies, by Vanessa Romo

On March 23, Marvia Malik made history as the first transgender news anchor in the country. At just 21 years old, Marvia appeared on Kohineer News in Pakistan, and has since gone viral on various social media outlets. Supported by various transgender rights group in Pakistan, Malik says she is still concerned with, and would like to see progressive changes in the way trans people are treated by society; while laws and policy have been passed and are incredibly important, their implementation by common people must occur in order for trans people to be accepted. Malik, who has been financially supporting herself since 15 and is estranged from her family, says that appearing on the news is a big deal for her, because she wants to show other trans kids that they can be accepted and there are opportunities for them. Marvia also wants to show the world that trans people are completely capable of being successful and achieving their goals. Kohineer news is well known for providing opportunities to the underrepresented in Pakistan, such as trans people, disabled people, women, and others. Marvia is pleased with her position, although she looks forward to helping trans people continue to make strides in society.

On March 25, Linda Brown, the woman who, as a young girl, was denied enrollment into an all white school in Topeka, Kansas, sparking one of the most important civil rights cases in history, died at the age of 76. Brown’s father, Oliver, led several families to file a lawsuit against the Topeka, Kansas Board of Education after Linda was prohibited from attending the Sumner School, an all white elementary school close to the family’s home. Oliver Brown was angered that Linda would’ve had to take a shuttle to a school miles away, and took action, supported by the fellow families and the NAACP. Nineteen years after the decision, Linda Brown spoke to NPR about her confusion surrounding the case. She said that she didn’t understand what was really going on, but that she remembered her father taking her to the Sumner school, and the “brisk, tense” walk back home. Linda also remembered her mother’s happiness once the decision occurred, despite the fact that the family had moved and Linda wasn’t ever able to attend the Sumner School. Linda’s activism continued as an educational consultant and public speaker, and she is celebrated for her and her family’s impact on the nation’s educational system.


Looking for Enrichment Opportunities? Black Girls Code offers programming and events in coding for African American girls. Brotherhood/Sister Sol offers afterschool and summer programming in relationshipbuilding, self/global awareness, social justice, leadership development, and more. Some of their programs are gender-specific. ChickTech offers programming and mentorship in STEM for high school girls. Curious Jane offers classes and summer programming in science, theatre, arts and crafts, and more for girls. Digital Girl, Inc. works at high schools to provide programming in STEM and offers tech workshops for the community. Girl Be Heard works in high schools to teach girls about gender, race, and class through theatre, and offers workshops and performances. Girl Vow offers education, mentorship, advocacy, and life skills training for girls. Girls for Gender Equity offers programming in community advocacy, leadership, and social justice for girls. Girls Inc. offers programming in statistical analysis, economic literacy, leadership and community action, STEM, media literacy, athletics, sexual health education, substance abuse prevention, self-defense, and more for girls ages 6-18. Girls Leadership offers Parent & Daughter workshops, parent education, and summer day camps for girls entering grades 4 and 5. Girls on the Run offers a physical activity based youth development program for girls in grades 3-8. Girls Who Code offers afterschool and summer programming in coding for middle and high school girls. Girls Write Now offers mentoring programs in writing, digital media, and college preparation for girls. 12

Click on programs names For More Info! GOALS for Girls offers year-round programming, a summer intensive, weekend forums, and internships in STEM for middle and high school girls. LOVE Mentoring works at high schools to deliver small-group mentoring for young Latinas. Life is Precious offers individual and group counseling, arts therapy, academic support, and nutritional and fitness activities to prevent suicide among young Latinas. Lower Eastside Girls Club provides programming in STEM, business, art, leadership, and advocacy, as well as mentoring for girls in grades 6-12. NYC GREAT! offers programming and mentoring in college and career readiness for high school girls. NYU GSTEM is a six-week summer program for high school girls during the summer between their junior and senior years who have high aptitude in STEM subjects. Powerplay NYC works in elementary, middle, and high schools to offer afterschool programming in physical activity and healthy living. Sadie Nash Leadership Project provides afterschool and summer programming in leadership and social justice for girls ages 14-22. Soul Sisters Leadership Collective works in schools to offer workshops to explore issues faced by young women of color. Vibe Theatre Experience offers theatre and media programming for girls ages 13-19. Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls offers afterschool and summer music programing for girls. YWCA provides programming in leadership and advocacy, STEAM, career and college exploration, and more for girls.


BALI Staff

Liz Abzug

Oriela Baliaj

Gabriela Valette

Founder & Executive Director

Senior Program Associate

Program Coordinator

BALI Board of Directors Liz J. Abzug, Founder/Executive Director Erica Forman, Board-Chair Meg Holzer, Secretary Cynthia McKnight, Treasurer Erica Forman, Chair Eija Ayravainen Gloria Steinem Joanne Davila Maya Catherine Popa Maya C. Popa

Claire Reed Harold Holzer Jonathan Greenberg Judy Lerner Liz Cooper

Betsy Scheinbart-Norton Jerry Goldfeder A.J. Lederman Kylie Reiffert Kai Gilchrist 14

The Bella Bulletin Staff Gisselle Rodriguez Benitez Editor-in-Chief School: Northeastern University Major: Economics BALI Class of: 2016 Email: gisselle@abzuginstitute.org

Wilma Abam-Depass Section Editor School: Croton High School Grade: 11th BALI Class of: 2017

Zoe Donovan Section Editor School: Bard Early College Grade: 11th BALI Class of: 2017

Adriana Rodriguez Section Editor School: Brown University Major: Political Science BALI Class of: 2016

for inquiries and suggestions, email bulletin@abzuginstitute.org




Profile for Bella Abzug Leadership Institute

Bella Bulletin |March 2018 Edition  

Bella Bulletin |March 2018 Edition