As you may have heard, the New Orleans City Council approved the HUD program of demolishing the public housing in New Orleans . Activists and community members organized to influence the vote, however they were brutally assaulted by police during the “hearing,” pepper sprayed, and tasered. Public housing residents are predominantly women and children of color. Denying safe housing is an act of violence and it also increases vulnerability to domestic and sexual violence, and poverty. It’s an anti-violence issue. It’s also a population control issue, an act of racial cleansing and reproductive violence. Gentrification and forced displacement is happening to women of color and our communities across the U.S. and abroad.
For more information about this struggle, see the following links:
Below is an appeal letter for the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic, a project of INCITE! New Orleans . Please consider supporting this critical project as one way to build the capacity of women of color-led movements for peace and safety.
– INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
“Moving from the margins to the center is vital for the health and well being of women of color and poor women. To do so, we must address the control and exploitation of our bodies and the regulation of our reproduction. We must center our needs and experiences by designing a table without restrictions or exploitation, dictating who can sit where and when….creating a location which we feel is ours to sit at and be heard…The New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic is that table.”
Dear Supporters of the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic:
Even before Hurricane Katrina, women of color and low income women in New Orleans lacked access to basic health care. Today, twenty-eight months after the storm, the limited health care resources that existed before the storm for low income and uninsured individuals have yet to be replaced, despite repeated commitments by public officials to create a “better system.” In reality, this “better system” includes plans to shift from public services to subsidized private health insurance, leaving over 60 percent of Louisiana ’s most vulnerable residents without health insurance or a safety net.
Combined with the loss of needed public resources and the continuation of economic isolation, gender inequality, environmental hazards, limited housing affordability, and racial discrimination, this lack of services and access to safe, affordable preventative care is equal to a public health disaster that directly impacts women of color and low-income women – particularly those who are young, uninsured, immigrant, elders, head of households, HIV/AIDS positive, homeless, sex workers, queer, disabled/differently-abled, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, and living in public housing – as they face increased barriers to health care.
The need to organize to address this public health crisis in New Orleans is clear, but the specific needs of women and the issues of sexual and reproductive oppression have not been prioritized in the rebuilding of the city. The manifestations of ill-health, lack of preventative care, inadequate medical resources, and the absence of a comprehensive health policy paint an unpromising picture as the voices of low income and uninsured women of color are largely silenced. Despite this harsh reality, the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic (NOWHC), a women of color-led project, has become a CRITICAL resource with vast potential for comprehensive health education and grassroots organizing activities.
The mission of the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic is to equip marginalized and underserved women with the means to control and care for their own bodies, sexuality, and reproduction through a holistic, community-centered well women approach to health care which integrates sexual health and reproductive justice. Through the organizing and health advocacy work of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic was conceived to combine health services with a political analysis of the oppression that prevents low income, uninsured, immigrant, disabled/differently-abled, formerly incarcerated, and LBTQ women of color from receiving comprehensive health care.
NOWHC not only provides health care services, but also addresses the social invisibility of low-income women of color that allows their needs to be chronically ignored and unmet. As corporate healthcare programs attempt to fill the gaps in health care existing for low-income women in New Orleans , NOWHC stands out as a clinic that is grassroots in origin and support, and that incorporates an analysis of the root causes of the current health care crisis into the services it provides.
Since the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic opened in May of this year, the demand for our services has steadily increased month by month. We currently provide a range of gynecological care and preliminary obstetrical visits including pregnancy testing and counseling; pap smears; pelvic exams; diagnosis and treatment of irregular menstruation, vaginal, urinary tract, and sexually transmitted infections; comprehensive sex education and access to safe and effective contraceptives; and prenatal care and education. The low cost sliding fee scale rates of the Clinic are possible due to the support we’ve received this year, most of which has come from individuals like you.
Most recently, we established a Women’s Healthcare Fund, designed to ensure that uninsured women who cannot afford the cost of care or medications can receive care at NOWHC. In the coming year, NOWHC plans to begin providing midwifery care, expand our services to gender variant people, conduct educational workshops at the Clinic space and in community settings throughout the city, and engage in base building activities to build support and awareness of the Clinic locally and nationally.
At NOWHC, we are working to build the “table,” as we continue to assist women access safe, affordable, and quality health services and resources they need to take care of their over health, bodies, sexuality, and reproductive. To continue this, we are asking you to support the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic in the following ways:
- Make a financial contribution to the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic. We rely primarily on donations from individuals such as you to provide sliding scale medical services to local women, and organize to build our long-term capacity. Donations help NOWHC to pay living wage salaries, rent and maintain our space, and cover the cost of laboratory services for uninsured women. A financial contribution of $50 will provide an annual exam for a woman who otherwise could not afford one, through our Women’s Health Care Fund. Hosting a benefit house party will raise enough for a supplies order or a piece of medical equipment, as well as spread the word about NOWHC. In addition to financial donations, we are also accepting gift cards from Office Depot, and prepaid medical supply orders through PSS Medical Supplies. Financial contributions should be made out to our fiscal sponsor: Women With A Vision, with NOWHC listed in the memo line of checks. Checks and gift cards should be mailed to:
New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic
1406 Esplanade Ave.
New Orleans , LA 70116
- Spread the word about the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic. Publicity in local, national, and international press helps NOWHC spread the word about our services, connects us with people engaged in similar work, provides publicity, and generates support. But, it’s something we often don’t have time to coordinate ourselves. If you have an idea for an article, please contact us at 504.524.8255 or at email@example.com for an interview and press points. Alternately, reach people directly by spreading the word about NOWHC to five potential donors. Your direct appeal saves us time and administrative costs!
- Donate needed supplies to the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic. The supplies that NOWHC uses daily really add up. Additionally, there are several pieces of medical equipment that we still need. If you would like to sponsor a supply order, or have supplies or equipment to donate, please contact Cassandra Burrows at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine if NOWHC can use them, or to get a list of needed supplies. Please don’t send unsolicited material.
The New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic warmly thanks our network of donors and volunteers for your continued generous support. You are needed now more than ever. Our ability to provide needed services, maintain autonomy, and participate in grassroots organizing is made possible through the support of individuals and organizations in our community and nationwide.
Shana M. griffin, Isabel Barrios Mayaba Liebenthal
Interim Director Board Member Board Member
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
PO Box 226
Redmond , WA 98073
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and their communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing.
so we went to go see marcos speak a couple of weeks ago. subcomandante marcos. some cuban guys spoke. and naomi klein.
a friend described marcos as a comic book character. with his mask and his pipe. if he aint speaking he is smoking a pipe. i dont know how his lungs can handle it.
another friend asked me why did i think that marcos had said that he was the supreme commander of the army…i dont know. maybe making marcos as the head of the army is a way of saying that there is no army. especially if you view marcos as a comic book character.
and so right again i find myself in the midst of the violence vs nonviolence argument when dealing with the zapatistas and why i lend support to them. i think that the definition of violence is relative and so we must find what is the least violent way of living in the world. and sometimes, often, the choices that are available are all evil. because i think it is evil to allow a community of people and families and generations and culture and history and language to die because you werent willing to defend them. being a witness to tragedy can be a very violent stance to take.
Mexico : December 2007, convoking the 3rd Encuentro of the Zapatista Peoples with the Peoples of the World, Topic “Comandanta Ramona and the women Zapatistas”
Friday 26 October 2007 by Compañera Zapatista Everilda
Compañeros and compañeras of Mexico and the world.
Good evening to all of you. With this Second Encounter of the Zapatista Peoples with the Peoples of the World we are very energized, with much responsibility and this worries us greatly. It makes us think. How there is much that we would like to say in this encuentro but scarcely find the time to share what we Zapatista communities are doing and there remain things for us to share, especially us women Zapatistas. Because of this we wish to say with anticipation that these words will remain well-guarded by us while you go to inform our compañeros y compañeras in your communities of what you have already come and heard so that the rest who are not here can be informed.
But we think it’s better at once that you already bring the message from us women Zapatistas that we convoke the Third Encounter of the Zapatista Peoples with the Peoples of the World, and the principle and unique theme will be the women Zapatistas, especially for us women Zapatistas of the Zapatista communities to gather with compañeras from México and the world.
We are going to speak, us women Zapatistas, with compañeras from Mexico and the world and you will be able to ask questions of how we organize ourselves, the women Zapatistas, more directly with women. We are going to ask the compañeros men Zapatistas that they help us with logistical questions. Compañeros from Mexico and the world may also come to hear us, but remain silent [calladitos], same as our compañeros men Zapatistas.
This Third Encuentro, as it will be especially of the women Zapatistas, will be dedicated to Comandanta Ramona, and will take her name. Thus it is like this: Third Encuentro of the Zapatista Peoples with the Peoples of the World: Comandanta Ramona and the women Zapatistas.
Bring this message to the rest of the compañeras. That they are prepared. At the same time, that they go to tell their spouses that they will have to take care of the house, the kids, and pets for a few days, while they leave and gather with the women Zapatistas to organize ourselves on how to fight against capitalism and neoliberalism.
This Third Encuentro of the women Zapatistas we think will happen around the last days of December 2007. We are consulting with the compañeras and compañeros of the Good Government Council of the caracol of La Garrucha and the community of La Garrucha, which is the seat of the caracol, if they will permit us to have our Third Encuentro there.
We’ll confirm later. We ask that you watch our Zezta Internazional and Enlace Zapatista internet pages, the Intergalactic Commission of the Sixth Commission of the Other Campaign.
The days we are thinking of:
Arrive the day of December 28 in the Caracol of La Garrucha and register;
December 29, 30, 31: plenary workshops of the Zapatista women with time for questions from the women of the world,
January 1: Celebration of our 14th anniversary of the beginning of the uprising of these dignified lands.
This is the invitation, compañeros y compañeras. We will be waiting here as always by the doors.