A Holiday Letter

q-b-g-1The photograph was taken on Dec. 11, 2016 at our family birthday party for our oldest granddaughter, Sophie, who turned 13 on the 8th. These are our youngest grandchildren, twins Quinn and Balan, 2 ¾ years old, who were born on the same day as their father who is also a twin. I’m writing this on Dec. 12th, having just opened two more Christmas cards with notes reflecting great distress over the 2016 election: Distress that I share, profoundly share for the sake of our nation, in all its glorious diversity.

“what are we gonna do” Sophie had texted me early in the morning the day after the fateful election. “what are we gonna do”  I texted back: “Stand up and be heard and do good, all of us!!!” Since then, I have increased my contributions to progressive organizations and publications: Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, Ms Magazine, Mother Jones. I’ve increased support of online sources for investigative journalism, including ProPublica, and online sources of nonpartisan, accurate, and comprehensive information, including Ballotpedia: The Encyclopedia of American Politics. I continue to recommend Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money. Recently on my blog I posted a link to a Google document “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.”  Often I call to mind for inspiration and fortitude the many undaunted, determined trailblazing women, and the men who joined them, that I have written about over the years: Fannie Lou Hamer, Frances Perkins, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Alice Hamilton, Chien-Shiung Wu, Sarah Winnemucca, Dorothea Dix, Biddy Mason, Dolly Parton, Martha Gellhorn, Alice Paul, Rose Schneiderman, Dolores Huerta and so many more . . .

I recall historic women’s words for courage and guidance:

*You don’t run away from problems. You just face them. Fannie Lou Hamer                   *You just can’t be afraid . . . if you’re going to accomplish anything. Frances Perkins      *You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. Eleanor Roosevelt                                                                                  *Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller                              *Knowing the facts as I did, I could not rest until I had brought  them to public attention. Rachel Carson                                                                                                                                         *We realize the importance of our voices only when they are silenced. Malala Yousafza    *Continue to speak the truth fearlessly.    Lucy Stone                                                                    *I refuse to be discouraged.    Mary McLeod Bethune                                                                  *It is past time for women to take their rightful place, side by side with men, in the rooms where the fates of people, where their children’s and grandchildren’s fates, are decided. Hillary Rodman Clinton

Linda and I have had a stimulating and productive year of research and writing, and a fun year of grandmothering! The working title of the book I’m currently immersed in writing is: Women’s Fierce Fight for the Vote: Shout the Revolution!  The recent news that the parents of Quinn and Balan are expecting another set of twins has me scrambling to finish that book!  In 2017 the ebook edition of Lost and Found: On Discovering Women will be available.

Best Wishes & Onward!

Penny

 

 

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Gaslighting

FYI: Early this morning, while reading the editorial page of The New York Times I learned a new definition for an old word – gaslighting.
“Lots of adults started paying attention to Teen Vogue recently. It started with an opinion article by Lauren Duca, the magazine’s weekend editor, called “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America.” Gaslighting is a form of psychology abuse that causes the victim to question his or her own sanity, Ms. Duca writes, ‘and that’s precisely what Trump is doing to this country.”

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Resisting!

I just got an email from the Southern Poverty Law Center with a link to a Google document “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.”

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6hA9HMyhEeLSVhWTWR1QnI2RHM/view

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Pathbreakers!

I was just reading a letter, “Woman’s Growing Up” by Alice Stone Blackwell in “The New York Times,” dated, 8/11/1915.  In it she recalled: “Dr. Emily Blackwell once said to me: “No woman whose memory does not go back sixty years can conceive of the iron wall that ringed around every woman who wanted to do anything in the least out of the common grove. Such a woman was simply crushed. Those who were of such a character that they could not be crushed . . . had to break a pathway through for themselves and others.” Hip, hip hurrah for the legions of female pathbreakers –  and the men of good will who supported them.

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Run Women Run!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clintons-loss-has-motivated-thousands-of-women-to-consider-running-for-office_us_584eeb33e4b04c8e2bb0d0e7

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Melissa Etheridge

img_1612-1Taking a break we went to Melissa Etheridge’s concert tonight. Fabulously energizing and uplifting, fun too! Sat next to a dynamic high school English teacher who knew all the lyrics of her classic songs (we didn’t). Melissa’s surprise guest was her dear friend Sulman Ahmad, who came from Pakistan, 10,000 miles, to sing with her. img_1613-1In the picture below, they’re preforming “Ring the Bells,” a song of empowerment and peace.

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Vigilance!

Checking my email this morning I read an email from the Southern Poverty Law Center (to which we donate) with a link to a ‘timely piece by The Guardian about Google’s relationship to online extremism”: Citizens, parents, teachers everyone be vigilant!: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/05/google-must-review-its-search-rankings-because-of-rightwing-manipulation

 

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“Post-truth” – Yikes!!!

Early morning newspaper reading introduced me to a new word – “post-truth.”  In an op-ed by Ruth Marcus “We’ve now started a new post-truth era in U.S. politics,” I learned that in November the Oxford Dictionaries added  “post-truth” as the international word of the year: “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” YIKES! Time – long overdue time – for all of us  nonfiction writers of and lovers of objective evidence and facts to step-up and decry post-trutherisms. How?  Vigilance and active challenging of post-truthers and post-truism whenever and wherever we encounter them – the media, the classroom, conversations with family, friends, strangers! “Of course, Trump is not the first truth-impaired president.” writes Ruth Marcus, “Ronald Reagan famously insisted on repeating tall tales; he conflated Hollywood with reality. ‘If you tell the same story five times, it’s true,’ said white House press secretary Larry Speakes. But today we have the conjunction of a president unconstrained by facts with a media environment siloed into partisan echo chambers and polluted by fake news. The citizen’s challenge is to remain vigilant against the enticing lure of post-truth politics.

 

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“You are always . . . .

05rutenberg-master768“It’s important not to say to yourself, ‘Oh, it’s O.K. It’s important to remember that, for example, in Russia, for the first year of when Vladimir Putin came to power, everybody was thinking that it will be O.K.”

“It is a common phrase right now that ‘America has institutions.’ It does. But a president has power to change institutions and a president moreover has power to change public perception of what is normal, which could lead to changing institutions.”

“You are always in danger of being shut down. But it’s not the end of the story because we are prepared to fight.”

Three quotes by Nadya Tolokonnikova in “From Russia Comes a Warning for Americans from Member of “Pussy Riot'” by Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times 12/4/2016, p. BI  (Nadya Tolokonnikova endured a 20-month brutal internment in Russia.)05rutenbergjump-master675

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/04/business/rutenberg-lessons-in-free-speech-from-pussy-riot.html?_r=0

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Standing Rock

Victory at Standing Rock brought tears to my eyes!!

Activists hold hands during a prayer circle as they try to surround the entire camp at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.  Native Americans and activists from around the country gather at the camp trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Activists hold hands during a prayer circle as they try to surround the entire camp at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Native Americans and activists from around the country gather at the camp trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Activists celebrate at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.  The Army Corps of Engineers told Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Archambault Sunday that the current route for the Dakota Access pipeline will be denied. / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Activists celebrate at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
The Army Corps of Engineers told Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Archambault Sunday that the current route for the Dakota Access pipeline will be denied. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

CANNON BALL, ND - DECEMBER 04:  Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will not grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation, ending a  months-long standoff.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CANNON BALL, ND – DECEMBER 04: Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will not grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation, ending a months-long standoff. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

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