community organizing

The Lesbian Avengers

Carrie Moyer
“Lesbians! Dykes! Gay Women! We want revenge and we want it now.” If you had been a woman at the 1992 New York Gay Pride March, a flyer with those words might have been shoved into your sweaty hand. Keep reading: “We're wasting our lives being careful. Imagine what your life could be. Aren't you ready to make it happen?” That flyer was printed and distributed by the thousands by six lesbians, A...
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#InternationalWomensDay

International Women's Day
March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD), a celebration of women that takes place in countries on every continent.  It has a deep socialist heritage, one connected to the cause for women’s suffrage, women’s right to vote, and importantly, for working women’s right to fair wages and safe working conditions.  Today, it is recognized by the United Nations as part of a global call to promote gender ...
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The Pill

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The oral contraceptive known as “The Pill” is one of the most influential drugs in the history of the United States.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the birth control pill in 1960, giving heterosexually active women control over preventing unwanted pregnancies.  Its appearance marked a turning point in the social and economic lives of women who could now claim sexual equality and ...
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The Riot Grrrl Revolution

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In early 1990s Olympia, Washington, the rebellion and riffs of the punk scene were adopted in a boisterous, unabashed display of feminine insurrection – riot grrrl. The Pacific Northwest was noted for its do-it-yourself culture, which was a breeding ground for self-published magazines, grunge and alternative music, and underground art. In college towns particularly, young women began to form an...
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Indigenous Feminism

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Native American women are the largest demographic of women likely to be killed by domestic violence. It is an epidemic with levels that almost exceed global rates: Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be assaulted and more than 2 times more likely to be stalked than any other woman in the United States. And, even though Native societies were egalitarian more than 500 years ago, toda...
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Black Feminism(s)

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One could argue black feminism began in the nineteenth century with Sojourner Truth’s declarative question, “Ain’t I a Woman” since her words are an inaugural instance of intersectionality, the notion that race and class status are inseparable from the struggle for gender equality. But there were many black feminists in the 19th century like Anna Julia Cooper, Frances Harper, Harriet Tubman, Id...
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Transgender Women of Color at Stonewall

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  History remembers New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn as the birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement. On June 28, 1969 it’s bar patrons clashed with the police who had arrived to arrest and shame same-sex couples who came there to dance and socialize with each other. The Rebellion on this day now marks Gay Pride and Christopher Street Day celebrations across the world. And while...
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Slut

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The term used for an individual who is considered promiscuous or morally unclean is usually applied to women. The absence of a comparable term for me highlights a sexist double standard that diminishes women’s sexual agency. Slut originates from Old English, and it means a “messy, dirty, or untidy” woman or girl. In contemporary culture, the slur reinforces the social characterization of th...
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Women of All Red Nations

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Women of All Red Nations (WARN) is an activist group founded in 1974 that grew out of the American Indian Movement (AIM). WARN was pivotal in bringing attention to issues impacting Native American women, especially in regard to forced sterilization. Comprised of over 200 women from 30 nations in its inaugural moment, WARN’s transnational coalition understood that Indigenous women “face the prob...
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Feminist Manifestos

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The manifesto has been an important genre for feminist writers because the form enables women’s voices to be heard at their most provocative, independent, irreverent, and demanding. Feminist manifestos are often short and pointed declarations of identity and politics that use radical rhetoric to upend the status quo of gender and sex. Whether they take the form of letters, brochures, pamphlets, or...
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Wilma Mankiller

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  Wilma Pearl Mankiller (1945-2010), was born in Okalhoma. She was a tireless advocate for the Cherokee people, and she became the first female principle chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985. With a focus on improved healthcare and education systems, Mankiller served two full terms as Cherokee chief. She also founded the Cherokee Nation Community Development Department, which helped to...
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Bella Abzug

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Famous for her trademark hats, Bella Savitsky Abzug (1920-1968) was a pioneer for civil rights. Born in the Bronx, New York to Russian Jewish parents, Abzug studied at Hunter College, The City University of New York. In the 1940s, she attended Columbia University School of Law after Harvard refused her admission because of her gender.  Abzug became a powerful voice of women's leadership. Wh...
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Consciousness Raising

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In the context of 1970s feminism, consciousness-raising (CR) refers to the practice of discussing the varied and everyday effects of sexism, racism, and classism in groups of similarly identified individuals. The practice was a key political strategy for second wave feminists, as well as an opportunity for personal transformation. The goal was to uncover the ways patriarchy distorted all levels of...
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Black Power Feminism

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As a political practice Black Power feminism bridges black feminist thought and black power politics simultaneously. As a theory it embraces the central tenants of the Black Power movement including self-definition, political participation, and self defense while also prioritizing gender justice. Black Power feminism situates race and gender as equal parts in eradicating various forms of oppres...
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ACT UP

The posters in the University of Rochester AIDS Education Collection are presented here for research purposes only, and may be protected by copyright either according to US law or according to the laws applicable in their countries of origin. Any further reproduction of the materials may require copyright or other rights clearance and is the sole responsibility of the user.
ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) founded in New York City in 1987, is a direct action organization working to end the AIDS crisis. At its height there were 140 ACT UP chapters internationally. Through a democratic structure rooted in Affinity Groups, Working Groups and regular Monday night meetings, often of hundreds of people,  ACT UP achieved transformative breakthroughs for people with ...
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Intersectionality

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Discrimination and oppression are not singular systems. Instead, multiple factors simultaneously interact to produce systems of injustice and inequality. Race, gender expression, class position, sexuality, religion, nationality, age, and ability are some of the factors that interact and produce intersectional, simultaneous, and complex structures, manifestations, and processes of discrimination ag...
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Fire Island

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The beach resort communities of Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines play a central part in US gay social and political life. Cherry Grove is the first lesbian and gay resort community. Located on the Atlantic ocean, 70 miles from New York City, they were first claimed as gay territory as far back as the first half of the twentieth century: the 1930s saw the arrival of lesbian and gay the...
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Sojourners for Truth and Justice

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Inspired by the intersectional activism of Sojourner Truth a century before, Sojourners for Truth and Justice was a radical black women’s human rights organization during the height of the cold war’s Age of McCarthy. The group included Alice Childress, Shirley DuBois, Esther Cooper Jackson, Claudia Jones, Lorraine Hansberry, Louise Thompson Patterson, and Mary Church Terrell. They advocated a blac...
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The First Black Woman Presidential Candidate

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  Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (1924-2005) made history when she became the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1969; she served 7 terms, ending in 1983. And in 1972, she became The First Black Woman to Run for President on the Democratic Party ticket. She won 152 votes at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Chisholm’s parents were...
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Entre Mujeres/Between Women: Songs of Solidarity

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Entre Mujeres is an innovative percussion-based translocal music composition project between Chicanas/Latinas in the U.S. and Jarochas/Mexican female musicians in Mexico who struggle for social justice for mothers and families in states of social and economic precarity. Jarochas practice music rooted in the son jarocho tradition developed in Veracruz, Mexico. Facilitated by Martha Gonzalez, Grammy...
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#ImWithHer

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While Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in the United States to win the presidential nomination for a major political party, Victoria Woodhull is the first woman to run for President of the United States (POTUS).  She ran for office in 1872, forty-eight years before the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. In her acceptance speech, Clinton reminded her supporters that their “...
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Dolores Huerta

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History knows Dolores Huerta (b. 1930) as a powerful union organizer, Chicana civil rights leader, and feminist activist. In the 1960s, Dolores Huerta, along with César Chávez, united Mexican, Mexican-American and Filipino farmworkers and founded the United Farmworker Union (UFW) in central California. Huerta led the struggle to organize exploited migrant farmworkers who worked in abysmal conditio...
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Planned Parenthood Federation of America

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  We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide. For nearly 100 years, Planned Parenthood has promoted a commonsense approach to women’s ...
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Women Who Rock

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  Women Who Rock brings together scholars, musicians, media-makers, performers, artists, and activists to explore the role of women and popular music in the creation of cultural scenes and social justice movements in the Americas and beyond. This multifaceted endeavor reshapes conventional understandings of music and cultural production by initiating collective methods of research, ...
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Rights4Girls

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Rights4Girls is a human rights organization focused on gender-based violence against vulnerable young women and girls in the U.S. We advocate for the dignity and personhood of young women and girls - so that every girl may possess the right to be safe and live a life free of violence and exploitation. Based in Washington, D.C., Rights4Girls works to make the lives of U.S. young women and girls...
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Black Girls Rock

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BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc. is 501(c)3 non-profit youth empowerment and mentoring organization established to promote the arts for young women of color, as well as to encourage dialogue and analysis of the ways women of color are portrayed in the media. Since 2006, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! seeks to build the self-...
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Trust Black Women Partnership

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The mission of the Trust Black Women Partnership is to develop strong network of African American women organizations and individuals mobilized to defend our human right to make abortion and family planning decisions for ourselves. We work to counter the growing anti-abortion movement in African American community and defeat race- and gender-based campaigns and legislation that limits abortion acc...
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Women’s Sports Foundation

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The Women’s Sports Foundation was founded in 1974 by tennis legend, Billie Jean King, to advance the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity. Today we provide scholarships and grants to aspiring athletes. We fund groundbreaking research and public awareness campaigns. We educate. We advocate. And we organize programs in cities across the country. Sure, we still have a lon...
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Alianza

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National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence (Alianza) was established as one of three domestic violence “Cultural Institutes” to address the particular needs and concerns of communities of color experiencing family violence. Alianza specifically addresses the needs of Latino/a families and communities, although its work helps to inform the domestic violence field in gener...
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National Organization for Women Foundation

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The National Organization for Women Foundation (“NOW Foundation”) is a 501(c) (3) organization devoted to achieving full equality for women through education and litigation. The Foundation focuses on a broad range of women’s rights issues, including economic justice, pay equity, racial discrimination, women’s health and body image, women with disabilities, reproductive rights and justice, f...
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National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum

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Through great perseverance, commitment and volunteerism, National Asian Pacific Women's Forum (NAPAWF) has sustained its energy and vitality. Its founding sisters, board, chapter leadership, members and staff are the many women and supporters who have given their time and energy (many without compensation) to build and sustain an organization that represents them, their ideals and the issues t...
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Native American Women’s Health Education and Resource Center

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Native American Women’s Health Education and Resource Center The Native American Community Board (NACB) works to protect the health and human rights of Indigenous Peoples pertinent to our communities through cultural preservation, education, coalition building, community organizing, reproductive justice, environmental justice, and natural resource protection while working toward safe commun...
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Madre

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MADRE is an international women's human rights organization. We partner with community-based women's groups worldwide facing war and disaster -- our sister organizations. Our mission is to advance women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face. Our history is rooted in progressive movements for peace, justice and women’...
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Live Your Dream

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Live Your Dream.org is an online volunteer network, a self-motivated community of people who wish to support women and girls in their quest to lead better lives, while gaining inspiration in their own lives. This initiative is sponsored by Soroptimist, an international women’s organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls through award-winning projects that effect fundamen...
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Dolores Huerta Foundation

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The Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF) is a 501(c)(3) "community benefit" organization that organizes grassroots projects to build and foster skills for natural leaders. The organization focus on three areas: health and environment, education and youth development, and economic development. Their mission is "to create a network of organized healthy communities pursuing social justice through systemic...
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The Feminist Majority Foundation

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Recently, a Gallup/Newsweek poll found that 56% of women in the United States self-identify as feminists. Founded in 1987,  Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF)  promotes and supports "women's equality, reproductive health, and non-violence", working with and for feminist women and men. The FMF works to empower women through development of  public policy, creation of education programs, organization...
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Roe v. Wade

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1970 was the dawn of a decade of radical and swift change for women in the U.S., none more profound than the right to control whether and when to become a mother. That year, a Texas woman named Norma McCorvey—a poor former carny with addiction problems and two previous pregnancies (one daughter forcibly taken from her by her mother, the other placed for adoption)—found herself pregnant a third tim...
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#NotYourSidekick

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In 2013 Suey Park raised the profile of Asian American feminism in the digital age with her Twitter campaign. In one tweet, she writes that she’s “tired of patriarchy in Asian American spaces and sick of the racism in white feminism.” In another, she writes, “I’d rather base build with other Asian Americans than rely on allies, who have a history of being absent.” Park’s description of racism a...
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Rape

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Sexual intercourse or sexual penetration without consent is rape. Rape, or sexual assault, is a violent crime perpetuated by persons who believe they have dominant, controlling power over another. Rape can also take place in instances of domestic abuse, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is unable to consent, such as against a person who is unconscious or against a person wh...
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Protesting Miss America

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In 1968, four hundred women gathered at Atlantic City’s Miss America Pageant to protest what they called “ludicrous beauty standards” perpetuated by American culture. In front of television cameras ready to film the pageant as a major media event, Miss America Protesters seized the opportunity to criticize the “Madonna-Whore” messaging symbolized by the beauty pageant. In “No More Miss Amer...
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Equal Rights Amendment

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The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is really very simple: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” It suggests the basic principle of equal humanity. And, it is shocking that ERA remains only a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Equality between the sexes is not part of the Constitution. (more…)
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Modern Roller Derby

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"Roller Derby" brings to mind images of elbows to the face, staged fights, butch lesbians and angry tattooed feminists. In 2001, modern flat track roller derby grew out of the Riot Grrrl punk rock movement in Autin, Texas. Instead of accepting traditional gender roles, the Riot Grrrl movement redefined femininity and rebelled against the male dominated music world. Modern roller derby, an amate...
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