Keeping Score: AAPI Women Speak Out, “We Will Not Let You Take Our Voice From Us”; Cabinet Confirmations; RIP Beverly Cleary

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in in this biweekly round-up.


Lest We Forget 

+ “I’m very appreciative of it because it truly was only us, her family, in the beginning. We were the ones who kept saying her name and made sure LMPD knew they weren’t going to get away with this. So when other people joined in on #SayHerName and the whole movement, it just made me feel comfortable knowing it’s no longer just us. Everybody has helped. It made us feel like we weren’t alone in this fight.”

—Breonna Taylor’s sister Ju’Niyah Palmer in an interview with The Cut.

Keeping Score: AAPI Women Speak Out, "We Will Not Let You Take Our Voice From Us"; Cabinet Confirmations; RIP Beverly Cleary
A massive mural on the side of a downtown Louisville warehouse that features the faces of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, David McAtee and Elijah McClain. (Don Sniegowski / Flickr)

+ “Your president and your party and your colleagues can talk about issues with any other country that you want, but you don’t have to do it by putting a bull’s-eye on the back of Asian Americans across this country, on our grandparents, on our kids. … This hearing was to address the hurt and pain of our community and to find solutions, and we will not let you take our voice from us.”

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) to Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) during a hearing on discrimination against Asian Americans

+ “I worked really hard to be able to transition. I dealt with bullying at school, and people being mean to me just because I exist. If I can deal with that, I know who I am. I’m not going to go back... Why should some guy who has never met me … get to tell me what I can and can’t do? Why does he get to decide what is right for people who just want to be happy?”

—Syrus Hall, 17, a transgender man in Mobile, Ala., where state lawmakers are looking to prohibit hormone treatment for trans youth.

+ “I feel like it’s a beacon of hope in the middle of all this darkness. This is like one dot on the continuum, one marker, you know, on the continuum of women fighting back against gender violence and assault in India, but it’s not going to solve everything. … It was journalism’s worst-kept secret. No one in the profession was surprised at all.”

—Indian journalist Priya Ramani after being cleared of a defamation suit brought against her. The suit was initiated by government official and former editor M.J. Akbar, who she alleged sexually harassed her at a job interview.

Milestones

+ Asian American women were six out of eight victims killed by racist, misogynist shootings at spas in Atlanta on the night of Tuesday, Mar. 16. According to the Anti-Defamation League, white supremacist physical propaganda (physical flyers, stickers, banners and posters) spread rapidly in 2020, with 5,125 hateful messages reported surrounding race, religion and gender and sexuality.

+ Less than a week later, a shooter at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado killed nine civilians and a police officer. The deadly event was the seventh mass shooting in just one week. The next day, President Joe Biden called for gun control measures, specifically restricting assault weapons.

+ To not recognize same-sex marriage is a constitutional violation, a Japanese court ruled on Wednesday, Mar. 17, marking a tremendous victory for LGBTQ+ activists in the country.

+ Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) reintroduced the Environmental Justice for All Act on Thursday, Mar. 18, co-sponsored by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and more. The bill “establishes several environmental justice requirements, advisory bodies, and programs to address the disproportionate adverse human health or environmental effects of federal laws or programs on communities of color, low-income communities, or tribal and indigenous communities.”

+ Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was confirmed by the Senate on Monday, Mar. 15, making her the first Indigenous member of the U.S. Cabinet. When sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, Haaland donned a ribbon skirt, earrings and bead necklace which paid homage to her Native heritage. 

+ Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra was also confirmed on Thursday, Mar. 18, becoming the first Latinx person to hold the position, and assistant health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine became the first openly transgender official confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday, Mar. 24.

+ By way of executive action—which eliminated a requirement to finish serving probation or parole before voting in elections—Virginia governor Ralph Northam (D) granted voting rights to 69,000 formerly incarcerated felons within the state.

+ In Georgia, however, governor Brian Kemp (R) signed a bill on Thursday, Mar. 25 to restrict early and absentee voting, and establish more voter ID requirements.

+ The possibility of a four-day work week is gaining ground in Spain, where businesses will test out a 32-hour office schedule without deducting from employees’ paychecks. 

+ In posing for the newest TIME Magazine cover, actor Elliot Page became the first openly transgender man to do so. And when it is published in July, Leyna Bloom will be the first Black and Asian trans woman included in a swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated.

+ Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) announced the formation of a new Single Parents Caucus in the House, meant to address the unique challenges that fellow congress members and constituents face. “It was tough enough being a single parent before the pandemic. Now, just tack on the issues and challenges that this pandemic has exposed: virtual school, child care costs, mental health,” she said. “I feel the pain. I know the struggle.”

+ Beverly Cleary, author of several children’s books—including Henry Higgins and Beezus and Ramona—died at age 104 on Thursday, Mar. 25.

https://twitter.com/FeministPress/status/1375557969845366789

+ The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Francios Momolu Khalil—previously convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct—”cannot be found guilty of rape because the woman got drunk voluntarily beforehand,” reports The Washington Post.

+ The Vatican issued a statement announcing “it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage,” and calling same-sex marriages a sin.

+ Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell made history with Oscar nominations—released Monday, Mar. 15—for their films “Nomadland” and “Promising Young Woman,” respectively. (Read the Ms. review of the rape-revenge dark comedy, Promising Young Woman.)

This is the first time in history that more than one woman was nominated for the best director category. Andra Day and Viola Davis also became the first two Black women simultaneously nominated for best actress since Diana Ross and Cicely Tyson were both up for the award in 1973.

+ Passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday, Mar. 18, two new bills would establish paths to citizenship for millions of immigrants who crossed the border without documentation, including those who arrived as children.

+ A measure approved by the New Zealand Parliament will provide couples with three days of paid leave following a miscarriage or stillbirth. “I felt that it would give women the confidence to be able to request that leave if it was required, as opposed to just being stoic and getting on with life, when they knew that they needed time, physically or psychologically, to get over the grief,” said Labour party member Ginny Andersen, who drafted the bill.

+ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention treaty on Saturday, Mar. 20—a blow to legal protections for Turkish women. “Countries should be working to strengthen and renew their commitments to ending violence against women, not rejecting international treaties designed to protect women and hold abusers accountable,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.

+ The California Supreme Court ended cash bail for some defendants who can’t afford to pay for their release, so long as they aren’t deemed a flight risk and the court agrees that they are unlikely to cause harm or commit other crimes.

+ “The court determined that in order to sue for excessive force under the Fourth Amendment, it is not necessary for a plaintiff to have been physically seized by law enforcement,” Reuters reported following a Supreme Court ruling on Thursday, Mar. 26. It will allow civilians to sue police for “intent to restrain,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “even if the person does not submit and is not subdued.”  


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How We’re Doing

+ Seventy-nine percent of parents of K-12 children support in-person schooling, a Gallup poll found. Of the survey participants, at-home learning led 13 percent to reduce their working hours, and 7 percent were forced to quit jobs entirely.

+ An analysis estimates 12 million students still do not have the stable internet access necessary to participate in virtual learning. 

+ “Our analysis shows men’s sports are the appetizer, the main course and the dessert, and if there’s any mention of women’s sports it comes across as begrudging ‘eat your vegetables’ without the kind of bells and whistles and excitement with which they describe men’s sports and athletes,” said Michael A. Messner, co-author of a report which showed women’s sports are entirely excluded from four-in-five sports news and highlights shows.

+ Over 1,000 violations by law enforcement—such as police brutality and double standards towards protestors—were recorded at anti-racism protests over the summer, according to data analyzed by the Guardian.

+ A study found that tax evasion by the richest 1 percent of Americans reduces the federal government’s revenue by approximately $175 billion per year. These top earners skip paying taxes on over 20 percent of their income.

+ State-level anti-abortion legislation is already at a record high compared to this time in 2019. Medication bans tripled to 33, and constitutional amendments reached 14—indicative of what drastic restrictions could be implemented in individual states should the conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court reverse landmark abortion rights decisions.

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About

Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a Ms. Fellow and former Editorial Intern. She recently graduated high school and is completing a gap year before attending Tufts University.