Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

WILPF MEETING

Oct. 8, 7 p.m., online. Watch your e-mail for an announcement and link or call-in number. If you have no e-mail or are not on the WILPF listserv, contact Teresa or Leni by phone for the information.

STIR IT UP–WILPF ON KFCF 88.1 FM

Oct. 28 (4th Wednesday of each month). Jean Hays does outstanding interviews on subjects involving WILPF interests and activities.

COMMITTEES STILL AT WORK though we cannot meet in person!

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE

Contact Jean Hays at skyhorse3593@sbcglobal.net.

LIBRARY COMMITTEE

Contact Ann Carruthers at acarruthers@earthlink.net.

EARTH DEMOCRACY

Contact Jean Hays at skyhorse3593@sbcglobal.net.

CUBA AND THE BOLIVARIAN ALLIANCE

Contact Leni at lenivreeves@gmail.com.

ADVANCING HUMAN RIGHTS/WINGS

Contact Bev Fitzpatrick at dfitzpatrick29@comcast.net.

RAGING GRANNIES

Contact Patty at 559-999-9709.

ANTI-RACISM

Contact Jean Kennedy at drjeankennedy@yahoo.com. There is a Zoom discussion held the last Sunday of each month at 6.30 p.m. To join, RSVP with your e-mail address for the Zoom link to drjeankennedy@yahoo.com or text 559-270-1023.

WOMEN IN BLACK

Oct. 7, noon, at the Fresno County Courthouse. Wear black and a mask, bring a sign if you wish and stand in silence for peace and against racism. Contact Teresa at taca_03@ymail.com or 559-360-8054.

MEMBERSHIP

Send dues to WILPF Fresno, P.O. Box 5114, Fresno, CA 93755.

Questions and information updates to Evonne Waldo at evonnewaldo@yahoo.com.

WILPF membership is $35/year. Contact Evonne about the low-income rate, sponsored by your contributions above the $35 that goes to the national organization.

Find us on Facebook!

  • WILPF Fresno: www.facebook.com/Wilpf-Fresno-395764603812264/
  • WILPF Fresno Earth Democracy: www.facebook.com/WILPF-Fresno-Earth-Democracy-497869307089677/  
  • WILPF Fresno Library Committee: www.facebook.com/WILPF-Fresno-Library-Committee-437118029825800/
  • Fresno WILPF Cuba Solidarity Committee: www.facebook.com/fresnosolidarity/
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Still fighting for the right to vote. Photo by Nancy Hatcher

Fresno WILPF Celebrates Women’s Equality Day and All the Suffragists at 100 Years

Neither the extreme heat of the San Joaquin Valley nor the air thick with smoke from California’s tragic wildfires could keep Fresno WILPF members from celebrating National Women’s Equality Day and urging the community as a whole to vote.

With several months of planning and preparation, under the leadership of our branch Membership chair, Evonne Waldo, WILPF members celebrated Women’s Equality Day 2020 in a special way. Gathered in the parking lot of the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, we put the finishing touches on our decorated cars before embarking on a car caravan.

Evonne Waldo and Ann Carruthers prepare. Photo by Evonne Waldo

Traveling on Fresno’s main thoroughfares, passing through a popular shopping center and crossing major intersections, we rallied The Vote. With our cars decorated with banners, buntings, printed posters, streamers and handmade signs promoting Equality Day, we passed other drivers, pedestrians, shoppers and those out for a morning walk who waved and cheered as we passed.

Dr Jean Kennedy. Photo by Evonne Waldo

As our caravan completed its well-planned 45-minute route, we lined up our cars and gathered for group photos. Evonne and I dressed as suffragettes, while others wore their Jane Addams “dangerous women” shirts. I wore a hat my grandmother had worn when the Connecticut Women’s Suffragette Association came together to urge the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

After pictures, our day continued as we split up to go on individual assignments. Wanting to honor our longest and strongest members, as well as inspire new Fresno WILPF members, and urging all of our members to vote, the caravanners departed with handmade totes, off to the homes of 40 of our members.

We filled the totes with Women’s Equality Day, suffragist and 19th Amendment memorabilia recognizing WILPF’s long-standing commitment of speaking up for peace and social justice, following the trailblazing work of WILPF founder Jane Addams.

Evonne Waldo and Nancy Hatcher in 1920. Photo by Nancy Hatcher

With this caravan, Fresno WILPF honored and paid tribute to those brave and tireless suffragists who fought so long and so hard to assure that women had the right to vote. As the posters and banners proclaimed, “Suffragists were protesters too, they won the vote for me and you!”

Teresa Castillo brings it to the mountains. Photo by LVR

The caravaners and members of Fresno WILPF stand strong together in recognizing that suffrage is yet unfinished business until true equality exists for all people.

We will continue the fight.

—Nancy Hatcher

ANTI-RACISM COMMITTEE IS ALL OF US

WILPF Fresno started a Zoom existential discussion group on Sept. 27 to unpack racism. Dr. Jean Kennedy, a long-standing WILPF member, served as Fresno WILPF branch chairperson for the Beloved Community Committee; she is a psychology professor who taught in the social sciences disciplines and is a transformational restorative justice (TRJ) advocate.

Dr Jean is known for her proactive stand for our Fresno homeless communities’ Water Project. She will facilitate these discussions, along with invited special guests from time to time.

Dr. Jean’s format for these discussions will be the viewing of video clips dealing with Black Americans. Dr. Jean says that “to understand Black Life Matters (BLM),means to truly understand what it feels like to be ‘Black.’ We cannot value and say all lives matter until we can truly understand BLM.

“We can begin this process once we can truly understand that we have ‘blind spots’ that inform our own ‘perceptions of others.’ Even when we are advocating ‘justice for all,’ we can victimize unknowingly an ethnic group because of our own ‘blind spots.’

“In fact, we really do not know what it means to walk in a Black person’s shoes, or another—it’s an experience within itself. The idiom states that ‘before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.’ It is a reminder to practice empathy as we try to understand their journey.

“Being a Black person living in America can be one of the greatest challenges that America faces in the wake of the BLM movement.”

It is important then for White allies and other supporters to continue to take a long look at their blind spots and to be willing to work on eradicating such blind spots from their “mind’s eye.” It can be done, and that is the start to unpacking racism.

Unpacking racism requires heavy lifting and at times is uncomfortable. WILPF, and WILPF allies, are up to the challenge. That is why we are starting this existential discussion group.

The format for unpacking racism is to identify our own blind spots. We will gather once per month on Zoom for a group discussion. We will be viewing several videos over the next several months dealing with African Americans’ feelings regarding what it means to be “Black” in America.

It can be said that Black Americans are in an “existential crisis” while continuing to live in America, that is, police shootings of Black males and a feeling of dissatisfaction with current conditions in America. Blacks from various socioeconomic classes still feel the pain, fears and even anger while trying to live in America.

One could say that it might be possible that many Blacks in America are suffering from PTSSD (post-traumatic STRESS slave syndrome). I, Dr. Jean, know that sometimes I feel like I am.

Dr. Joy DeGruy (Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing) describes the multigenerational trauma experienced by African Americans that leads to undiagnosed and untreated PTSD in African Americans and their descendants. African Americans’ conditions exist as a consequence of multigenerational oppression of African Americans resulting from abuse.

African Americans are living with a tremendous amount of stress in this 21st century. As a society, we must recognize that we, as an American culture, are as strong as the weakest link in our “Great America.” If this is so, “Black Life Matters” must truly matter now.

We must be open to understanding our Black brothers and sisters on a micro and macro level, and how it feels each time an insane police shooting takes place and is videotaped all over national TV. Or a Black child is expelled from school for the same action excused for a White child.

Our prison system continues to thrive with Black and Brown inmates while the stock markets continue to pay dividends to the prison complex shareholders. We must be open to understand our African American and Black communities on all fronts.

Black lives MUST matter and MUST matter for the right reasons.

Our discussions will be meaningful and intentional. This will not be designed to be a Black studies class but rather a discussion from a psychosocial perspective on how African Americans are feeling about themselves in America. We want Whites and other groups to hear us. How can you support our cause if you cannot understand how we feel?

So on behalf of our local WILPF branch, we extend an invitation to friends and allies of WILPF. We welcome a diverse audience for these monthly wholesome discussions. Each month, a set of questions will be sent out to participants to review with the video clips.

We will bring our answers back to the larger group on our Zoom discussion held on the last Sundays of each month at 6.30 p.m. To join, RSVP your e-mail address for the Zoom link to drjeankennedy@yahoo.com or text 559-270-1023. 

A reminder announcement will go out one week prior to our Sunday night discussions. If you have any questions, feel free to contact WILPF or Dr. Jean Kennedy.

—Dr. Jean Kennedy

The Fresno WILPF page is usually compiled and edited by Leni Villagomez Reeves. Contact her at lenivreeves@gmail.com.

  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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