The Cafe at On The Issues Online Magazine is deepening the conversations by continually adding the insights of progressive writers, thinkers and artists on the topics we address. Check back frequently for new commentary. If you wish to contribute to the Cafe, email cafe@ontheissuesmagazine.com.

We’re now taking comments in The CAFE! Join the discussion.

 

On The Subway With Tillie

by Rhea Hirshman

When I was growing up in Brooklyn, a significant rite of passage for my friends and me was being allowed to ride the New York City subway for the first time without the presence of one or the other of our parental units.

Among the rites of subway riding, eagerly dissected among our adolescent set, were the rules associated with subway reading. One had always to consider the impressions created by the selection of reading material, and to choose items that did not induce extreme reactions. Chuckling lightly, for instance, was acceptable on public transit. Wild guffawing was not.

But one day, some years later, I inadvertently broke that rule. I took Tillie …


Read More:
On The Subway With Tillie

A Poem: Praise to Our Mothers

by Gcina Mhlophe

"Praise to Our Mothers" was performed in 1989 when Gcina Mholphe first met Nokukhanya Luthuli, wife of Chief Albert Luthuli. He was president-general of the African National Congress (ANC) during the 1950s and 1961 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Nokukhanya Luthuli was a leader in the women's part of the struggle for liberation under apartheid. She has been called "the mother of the nation."

"Praise to Our Mothers," published here under the direction of Co-Poetry Editor Clare Coss, is from Women Writing Africa: The Southern Region, Volume I, an anthology edited by M.J. …


Read More:
A Poem: Praise to Our Mothers
2 comment(s)

A Poem about Bella: "Under the Big Hat"

by Claire Reed

flamboyant, Bella strides,
stumps, marches, a lightening rod,
raucous, rallying the troops,
 
fierce, intense, prodding hard,
under the big hat, an inner spirit reigns,
exhilerated by music, by songs,
 
stroked by Nature's magnificence,
by mountain, sea and plains,
embracing family, friends,
 
pleads for peace, fights resists war,
under the big hat, a legend,
an icon, whom we applaud,
 
a serious woman on a serious voyage,
defining truth and power,
our Mother Courage.  
 
April 14, 2010



Read More:
A Poem about Bella: "Under the Big Hat"

Enemies and Heroes: A Memoir of Two Women

by Resa Crane Bizzaro

If I ask my students to write about someone they admire, chances are they'll write about their mothers, grandmothers, or great-grandmothers. They tell stories of life and death, and they often comment upon how these women sacrificed for children and grandchildren. But if I had the same assignment, I don't know if my grandmother and great-grandmother would be my enemies or heroes. Over the years, I've come to accept them as heroic, since they kept our culture alive ... in secret.

I count myself lucky to have had two great-grandmothers on my father's side who lived until I was nearly twenty years old; my paternal grandmother lived until I was thirty-six. Although I grew up far …


Read More:
Enemies and Heroes: A Memoir of Two Women

Maternal Mortality, Slavery, Fistula Fill Half the Sky

by Elayne Clift

I’ve always felt ambivalent about Nicolas Kristof’s columns in The New York Times, even though they have exposed so effectively the tragic lives of so many women around the world.

The reason is that for decades before he got all those column inches, women (like myself) working in the trenches of women’s empowerment globally could not get any mainstream newspaper or magazine in the entire country to run our stories. Even when we covered essential issues from various places around the globe during the United Nations Decade for Women and the subsequent Fourth World Conference for Women in 1995, we couldn’t get our stories printed except in obscure, alternative, non-paying …


Read More:
Maternal Mortality, Slavery, Fistula Fill Half the Sky
1 comment(s)

Heads High: Three Poems of Unsung Women

by Emily Rand Breitner

The Courage of Anne

It doesn’t matter what
little Charlie did to provoke
his father, but probably
not much for the man
to whip off his worn belt
in that familiar motion.
This time soft-spoken
Anne – sister described as
afraid of her own shadow –
stepped between the boy
and the strap, and in a voice
she’d never used, said
If you touch him I’ll call
the police.


A stunned silence
struck the child,
the father, the mother, the young
sisters huddled in the peeling room
of the Lower East Side railroad flat,
this immigrant …


Read More:
Heads High: Three Poems of Unsung Women

Women Hold Demonstrations For Liberation in Iran and Afghanistan

by Carol Downer

The women of Iran and Afghanistan used International Women’s Day this year to carry forward their struggle for the liberation of women in their countries. They raised their voices in demonstrations in London, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.

Susann G., an Iranian woman now living in Germany, said the mass demonstrations in Iran in the past year created a new opportunities for progressive forces and those working for the liberation of women. “Something has happened,” said Susann G. “Even though the opposition candidate, Mussavi, supported the Islamic …


Read More:
Women Hold Demonstrations For Liberation in Iran and Afghanistan

Aung San Suu Kyi Acts on Love, A Poem

by Maureen McNeil

Editor’s Note: Janet Benshoof wrote about the Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi in our Winter 2010 edition of On The Issues Magazine, devoted to women around the world who are fighting for freedom. Benshoof described how the military dictatorship in Suu Kyi’s country was preparing to end any possibility that the Nobel Peace Prize winner could hold office.

The Associated Press reports on March 10 that Suu Kyi, in fact, will be barred from participating in future elections.

An international lawyer …


Read More:
Aung San Suu Kyi Acts on Love, A Poem
1 comment(s)

Loretta Ross Unmasks Black Anti-Abortion Message, Media Spin

by Cindy Cooper

When Loretta J. Ross speaks, people listen. Ross is a big-picture thinker on reproductive justice, national coordinator of SisterSong, Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, headquartered in Atlanta, and a vibrant voice on women’s rights who brings three decades of analysis into every conversation. She was National Co-Director of the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C., the largest protest march in history. A much sought-after speaker, she packs in crowds who listen eagerly when she takes the microphone.

So how is …


Read More:
Loretta Ross Unmasks Black Anti-Abortion Message, Media Spin
9 comment(s)

Anabella: Guatemalan Leader Deploys Stilettos Against Corruption

by Gail Kriegel

On Christmas day, 2008, Guatemalan Congresswoman Anabella De Leon, called me. A new president had taken office earlier that year and he decided to eliminate Anabella’s bodyguards. They cost too much money, he had claimed. The new president and his wife had been denounced for money laundering, drug trafficking and other crimes by Anabella and the journalist, Hugo Arce. And Hugo Arce had been found dead in his hotel room.

I first met Congresswoman De Leon in June of 2006 at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami. A conference honoring Latin American women leaders was being held by the

Read More:
Anabella: Guatemalan Leader Deploys Stilettos Against Corruption
1 comment(s)

Poem: My heroines

by Marge Piercy

When I think of women heroes,
it’s not Joan of Arc or Molly Pitcher
but mothers who quietly say
to their daughters, you can.
Who stand behind attempts
to open doors long bolted shut
to teams or clubs or professions.

I think of women who dress
‘respectably’ and march and march
and march again, for the ability
to choose, for peace, for rights
their own or others. Who form
phone banks, who stuff envelopes
who do the invisible political work.

They do not get their faces on
magazine covers. They don’t get fan
mail or receive awards. But without
them, no …


Read More:
Poem: My heroines
2 comment(s)

Courage and Heroism Follow Devastation in Haiti

by Mary Lou Greenberg

Editor’s Note: In light of the devastating earthquake in Haiti and in tribute to the courage of the Haitian people, On The Issues Magazine presents an exclusive eyewitness interview with a physician who traveled to Haiti on an emergency basis as a volunteer.

“From the air, it looked like an atomic bomb had hit Haiti. I haven't seen an atomic bomb, but I couldn't imagine anything worse...everything was like dust...people under the rubble. I just started crying. But I reminded myself I was there to help people, I pulled myself together, and soon was working at a makeshift hospital set up in front of the UN headquarters.”

As the extent of the …


Read More:
Courage and Heroism Follow Devastation in Haiti

Grace Paley's True North: Justice in Writing and Action

by Judith Arcana

I've been thinking about Grace Paley, the late activist and writer, in relation to this theme of "women fighting for freedom and justice, even when it puts them at risk or imperils their lives."
 
Grace Paley, who died in August of 2007, was one of the great masters of the short story form; she also wrote Poems and essays that tell us, in her startlingly clear voice, things we need to know. A lifelong …


Read More:
Grace Paley's True North: Justice in Writing and Action

The African American Woman Who Shaped the Future of Art

by Ms. Michael angel Johnson

Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a woman of African descent too often overlooked in arts history, was a precursor to the New Negro Movement of the 1920s – also known as the Harlem Renaissance. Born in 1877, her sculpture of the early 20th century boldly used folk and African themes that anticipated this new artistic direction.

The Harlem Renaissance itself emerged after a shift in the leadership of black people from Booker T. Washington to more radical leaders, such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Alain Locke and Marcus Garvey. These men defined the role of the “New Negro” who had migrated from the south to the north and encouraged an examination of southern folklore and African culture in …


Read More:
The African American Woman Who Shaped the Future of Art
6 comment(s)

Follow us on:

Choices Women's Medical Center Banner Ad

Print page      Bookmark site      Rss Feed RSS Feed

 

©1983-2015 On The Issues Magazine; No Reuse without permission. • Complete Table of ContentsPrivacyLinks of Feminist and Progressive Interest