Archive for : Gender & Sexuality

Repair Inspiration: The Body Image Movement

File this under LOVE! Most women (and many men too) are all too familiar with the words “I hate my body.” From magazines, to TV commercials to our own inner monologues, there are a million narratives out there telling us – both subtly and explicitly – to do exactly that.

One woman from Australia, Taryn Brumfitt, is out to change the conversation about body image. Her Body Image Movement is, “on a quest to redefine and rewrite the ideals of beauty” and “harness and facilitate positive body image activism.” Brumfitt and her team want to reach as many women as possible and help them accept, embrace, and celebrate exactly who they are.

Check out the video below to learn more about Brumfitt’s story, and hear more about the movement.

Repair Inspiration: NY Times Rocks Women’s History Month

You know that thing where you wish something existed, and then you find out that it does? That’s how I felt upon discovering the New York Times’ treasure trove of stories, stats, and resources about women for Women’s History Month.

The page links to videos (like this one about the inimitable Malala Yousafzai), and historical articles dating back to 1915 (yep, 100 years ago!) featuring NY Times coverage of stories like women getting the right to vote (1919), Amelia Earhart’s historic flight (1928) and the naming of Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court Justice (1981). It also links to current articles, crossword puzzles, and lesson plans for teachers who want to use the material in their classrooms.

So basically, they harnessed the entirety of the New York Times’ archival and educational power and used it to lift up women’s stories and influence. Yeah. That’s pretty much just as cool as it sounds.

We are halfway through Women’s History Month, which gives you plenty of time to use and share this incredible resource. Let us know what you discover by tweeting us at @repairtheworld #womenshistorymonth.

Spotlight On: Black Women’s Health Imperative

All February long during Black History Month, Repair the World is checking in with people and organizations working on the forefront of Black issues in America. Today we’ve got our spotlight on: Black Women’s Health Imperative – an incredible organization that educates and advocates for health equality for Black women.

Founded in 1981, BWHI has been a champion of health for more than three decades. Their campaigns focus on diseases that disproportionately impact Black women – things like cervical and breast cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. They educate women about their healthcare options and provide the information and tools needed to get covered by medical insurance.

My Sister's Keeper

Meanwhile their campaigns – like Black Women Matter (an initiative focused on increasing the numbers of healthy black women in America) and My Sister’s Keeper (an advocacy initiative on Historically Black College campuses) – help raise awareness and foster a community of empowered, strong women.

Similar to the Black community, the Jewish community faces its own unique health risks – from genetic diseases like Tay-Sachs to a higher risk of breast cancer in Ashkenazi Jewish women. (Check out the amazing education and advocacy work Sharsheret is doing on that front.) That’s just one reason of many why we support and salute the amazing work of BWHI!

To find out more about Black Women’s Health Imperative’s work, check out their website and Facebook page.

Coming Up: Transgender Day of Remembrance

On November 20th, the Jewish community will join in in commemorating the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Founded in 1998, TDOR is an internationally-recognized day of action that memorializes trans people who died at the hands of transphobia and discrimination during the previous year. It is observed in more than 20 countries across the globe. Within the Jewish world, Keshet is leading the charge in ensuring rights, respect, and full inclusion for transgendered Jews in their communities. And they have put together a treasure trove of resources, stories, and events in honor of TDOR.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a heavy day – filled with the sorrow that comes from hate-fueled violence. In the words of Rabbi Becky Siverstein, the country’s first openly transgender rabbi, “Each time my community gathers for a prayer service, we ask someone in the congregation to say the Mourner’s Kaddish for those who have no one to say Kaddish for them. This is a powerful reminder that in the Jewish tradition mourning is a communal obligation.”

Join Keshet on November 20th and make a stand to advance transgender inclusion within the Jewish community. Find out how to get involved on their website.

Repair Inspiration: Teen Activists Taking Down Ebola in Liberia

In the fight against Ebola, it has typically been doctors and nurses who get named the heroes. And for good reason – these medical professionals, like those from Doctors Without Borders, put their lives at risk to help others. But in Liberia, there’s another type of activist fighting the deadly virus: teenage girls.

A recent article in The Daily Beast tells the story of A-LIFE: Adolescents Leading an Intense Fight Against Ebola. The organization is making important strides on the ground in educating and raising awareness about the virus. And the whole thing is led by some incredibly awesome teens. Read more about their story below, and get the whole story over at The Daily Beast.

Meet the Liberian Girls Beating Ebola
By: Abby Haglage

Two hundred girls are weaving in and out of dirty alleys in the seaside slum of West Point, Liberia. One man, straddling a large drum, keeps time as their voices rise in song: “Believe it, people, Ebola can kill.” Passers-by emerge from concrete buildings to watch the girls, now nearly dancing down the dirt roads in rows of two. One voice rises above the others: “Let’s come together to stop Ebola.”

The march, held Sept. 17, marked the official launch of Adolescents Leading an Intense Fight Against Ebola, or A-LIFE. Made up of girls aged 16-19 and a handful of boys around the same age, the group was formed to spread awareness and education about Ebola to help curb its spread in their community. The group members came up with the name themselves and launched their mission on their own. They have already reached more than 4,000 homes in West Point.

Their community, their city, their country, desperately needs them.

Of the 10,141 cases and 4,922 deaths from Ebola reported by the World Health Organization this week, more than half are in Liberia. Experts from the WHO say the real toll is likely 2.5 times more than their recorded numbers for cases and deaths in Liberia—which now stand at 4,665 and 2,705, respectively. Guinea, where the epidemic began, has half as many cases as Liberia.

Enter A-LIFE.

The story of this teenage mission to spread awareness about Ebola began two years ago, when UNICEF launched an educational group for girls in West Point. The neighborhood is extremely dangerous—even in a country with one of the highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence in the world. UNICEF’s group was formed in 2012, with the intention of teaching young girls how to protect themselves from sexual violence.

Read the rest of the story over at The Daily Beast.

Sharsharet Rocks Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Have you noticed an uptick in the amount of pink you’re seeing around? It’s not a coincidence – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! All around the country, people are getting involved – participating in walks, talks, and other events to get the word out about women’s health, and particularly breast health.

High up there among them, is Sharsheret – an organization dedicated to supporting Jewish women who have breast cancer, and also their families, friends, and care givers. Ashkenazi Jewish women are more likely to have the alterations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which make them more susceptible to eventually getting breast cancer.

Sharsheret works year round to provide resources and loving networks for women facing the challenges of breast cancer. But this month, they and their partners on campuses, synagogues, and in communities are stepping it up even more, with events like Sharsheret Pink Week, Pink Shabbats, and a Rock ‘n Run awareness raising event.

Find out more about all of Sharsheret’s work – during October and throughout the year – at their website.

Repair Inspiration: Two Girls, One Jewish and One Muslim, Share a Stage

It’s Throwback Thursday, and we’ve got a very worthy throwback for you! Last year, two young women got up on stage at the Brave New Voices poetry slam in Washington DC. One, Hannah Halpern, is Jewish. The other, Amina Iro, is Muslim. They were there to co-recite a spoken word poem – one with a powerful message of tolerance, unity, and finding strength within our differences.

BNV is a project of Youth Speaks, a San Francisco-based organization that works to advance the intellectual and artistic development of young people, while amplifying their voices. As you’ll see in the video below, Halpern and Iro’s voices were definitely amplified – and the result is nothing short of amazing.

Interfaith understanding, awesome poetry, and two smart and fabulously talented women sharing their stories – what more could you want? Watch and cheer!

Find out more about the Brave New Voice sslam and Youth Speaks at their website.

Repair Inspiration: Eden Village Camp Makes the New York Times

Here at Repair the World, we have been big fans of Eden Village Camp – the Jewish organic farm camp – since the get go. We have profiled their awesome summer program, with its environmentally-focused, hands-on, empowering approach to summer camp education. We even volunteered to help them build their greenhouse!

So we were very psyched to see Putnam Valley, New York-based program profiled recently in the New York Times for its innovative and gutsy “no body talk” policy, which aims to shift kids’ and preteens’ awareness from a body image and style-driven focus to deeper engagement with one another. Check out the excerpt, and read the full piece at The New York Times’ website:

No Body Talk at Summer Camps
New York Times, July 18, 2014

“Last August, on a clear summer day, Tom and Maura Gould were driving their 12-year-old daughter from Eden Village, an organic farming camp in Putnam Valley, N.Y., to their home in Cambridge, Mass., when they started talking about family members who were particularly hairy.

“Why would you want to talk about that?” their daughter, Aviva, asked from the back seat. “There are much better things to talk about than someone’s looks.”

For many people, including children, talking about physical attributes would be no big deal. But for Aviva, this kind of talk sounded an alarm, mostly because she had not heard it at camp.

At Eden Village, staff members and campers follow something called the “no body talk” rule. “The specific rule is while at camp, we take a break from mentioning physical appearance, including clothing,” said Vivian Stadlin, who founded the camp six years ago with her husband, Yoni Stadlin. “And it’s about myself or others, be it negative, neutral or even positive.”

On Friday afternoon, when the campers, girls and boys from 8 to 17, are dressed in white and especially polished for the Sabbath, they refrain from complimenting one another’s appearances. Rather, they say, “Your soul shines” or “I feel so happy to be around you” or “Your smile lights up the world,” Ms. Stadlin said.

Signs posted on the mirrors in the bathroom read, “Don’t check your appearance, check your soul.”

more…