This month, Maryland became the sixth state in six years to repeal the death penalty. With that said, the total number of states that have abolished capital punishment is now eighteen (18). For years, Maryland’s Governor, Martin O’Malley has championed the repeal of death penalty in his state. After signing the bill into law, Governor O’Malley said that the risk of executing an innocent person weighed heavily in his dedication to ending capital punishment in Maryland. The success of the repeal effort in Maryland has given momentum to repeal efforts in Delaware where an abolition bill was passed by the state Senate this week. The next step in Delaware is for the legislation to go before the House. The Delaware Governor, Jack Markell, has refused to say whether he favors the legislation.
The US criminal justice system is based on guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s the foundation of our justice system, built to serve and protect the wrongly accused. But in the case of Troy Davis and countless others on death row, it’s a principle that was defied, ignored, and trampled on. As Troy Davis wrote in a letter when he was facing execution in 2008 :” … no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe.
With the recent decision to abolish the death penalty in Maryland, we have moved one step closer to dismantling our unjust criminal justice system city by city, state by state and country by country. Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have been seeking to do just that for decades. Specifically, these organizations have been quite successful in raising awareness about the problems with criminal justice system and the need to end the death penalty. The number of persons supporting their work is growing as demonstrated in the case of Troy Davis. Their petition seeking clemency in the Troy Davis case was signed by almost one million persons. NAACP and Amnesty International have experienced steady progress in this important undertaking to end the death penalty. However, the Troy Davis case reminds us that more work needs to be done to end the death penalty across our nation.
The collective work done on Troy Davis’ case resounded with people all over the world. Next stop for the abolition of the death penalty nationwide is California, a state poised to make history this fall by ending its death penalty through a referendum. The struggle continues. But with each victory, we, as a nation, come closer to a world where human rights are respected, and executions are a thing of the past.
For further information on how you can get involved in efforts to end the penalty nationwide, please visit the websites for Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Equal Justice USA, and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.
Sources: Delaware Senate approves repeal of death penalty, POLITICO, March 26, 2013, Associated Press. Amnesty International, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Innocence Project. The Campaign to End the Death Penalty.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Four years ago, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, with Lilly Ledbetter, who suffered twenty (20) years of pay discrimination. Data indicates that working women in the United States are paid an average of eighty (80) cents for every dollar paid to men. Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The pay gap is even larger for most women of color; on average, black women earn about seventy (70) cents, and Latinas about sixty (60) cents, of every dollar paid to all men.
In 1996, Equal Pay Day was established by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. For the past thirty-two (32) years, the National Committee on Pay Equity has been working diligently to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.
In 1979, the National Committee on Pay Equity was founded as a coalition of women’s and civil rights organizations; labor unions; religious, professional, legal, and educational associations, commissions on women, state and local pay equity coalitions and individuals working to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.
9 to 5 shared that a woman has had to work an extra three months this year to match a man’s income in 2010. As we think about the work women have done for equal wages, help is needed in the fight for the next step toward pay equity. It reminds us of the continuing problem of sex- and race-based wage discrimination and the need to achieve pay equity. The alert reads as follows:
When the Equal Pay Act passed nearly 50 years ago, a woman earned an average of 59 cents for every dollar a man made. Today, she makes 77 cents. The annual gap between men and women’s median annual wages is a staggering $10,849. With more and more families relying on women’s wages to support them in an ailing economy, shortchanging women nearly $11,000 a year is inexcusable.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is an important step in the continuing struggle for women’s rights. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Actwould take several steps towards closing the wage gap, including: clarifying acceptable reasons for differences in pay between men and women; prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about or disclose information about employers’ wage policies and their pay rates; making it easier to file class action lawsuits based on equal pay; and requiring the EEOC to survey current pay data and obliging employers to submit pay data identified by race, sex and national origin of employees.
Help 9 to 5 and other advocacy organizations to make this very necessary change: Contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to support and sign on to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Women have waited too long for equal wages. We, as a nation, cannot afford to wait any longer. —9 to 5
The following summary was written by the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, which serves Congress.
“Paycheck Fairness Act – Amends the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) known as the Equal Pay Act to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages. Revises the exception to the prohibition for a wage rate differential based on any other factor other than sex. Limits such factors to bona fide factors, such as education, training, or experience. States that the bona fide factor defense shall apply only if the employer demonstrates that such factor: (1) is not based upon or derived from a sex-based differential in compensation, (2) is job-related with respect to the position in question, and (3) is consistent with business necessity. Avers that such defense shall not apply where the employee demonstrates that: (1) an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing such differential, and (2) the employer has refused to adopt such alternative practice. Revises the prohibition against employer retaliation for employee complaints. Prohibits retaliation for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of the employee or another employee in response to a complaint or charge, or in furtherance of a sex discrimination investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, or an investigation conducted by the employer. Makes employers who violate sex discrimination prohibitions liable in a civil action for either compensatory or (except for the federal government) punitive damages. States that any action brought to enforce the prohibition against sex discrimination may be maintained as a class action in which individuals may be joined as party plaintiffs without their written consent. Authorizes the Secretary of Labor (Secretary) to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action. Requires the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to train EEOC employees and affected individuals and entities on matters involving wage discrimination. Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to eligible entities for negotiation skills training programs for girls and women. Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of Education to issue regulations or policy guidance to integrate such training into certain programs under their Departments. Directs the Secretary to conduct studies and provide information to employers, labor organizations, and the general public regarding the means available to eliminate pay disparities between men and women. Establishes the Secretary of Labor’s National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace for an employer who has made a substantial effort to eliminate pay disparities between men and women. Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to require the EEOC to collect from employers pay information data regarding the sex, race, and national origin of employees for use in the enforcement of federal laws prohibiting pay discrimination. Directs: (1) the Commissioner of Labor Statistics to continue to collect data on woman workers in the Current Employment Statistics survey, (2) the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to use specified types of methods in investigating compensation discrimination and in enforcing pay equity, and (3) the Secretary to make accurate information on compensation discrimination readily available to the public. Directs the Secretary and the Commissioner of the EEOC jointly to develop technical assistance material to assist small businesses to comply with the requirements of this Act.”
Source: GovTrack. 9 to 5. The National Committee on Pay Equity. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
The “2012 ISHEID: International Symposium on HIV & Emerging Infectious Diseases” will take place on May 23rd through the 25th of 2012 in Marseille, France.
According to Conference Alerts, “ISHEID will focus on finding a cure against HIV, but also: Human Rights, Prevention of HIV Transmission, Access to Care. ISHEID is the opportunity to meet international Key Opinion Leaders in a friendly atmosphere, and share ideas.” For more information, please contact Alain Lafeuillade or visit their website. Information Source: Conference Alerts. Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer still attacks 10,000,000 people per year worldwide. Annually, 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer and nearly 555,000 people will die in our nation this year alone. According to the CDC, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women.
In 2006 (the most recent year numbers are available)—
• 191,410 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.*†
• 40,820 women died from breast cancer.*†
If you are concerned about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, one way to deal with your concerns is to gather as much information as is available. For more information, you can visit the websites for: American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and the National Cancer Institute.
†Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2006 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs.
*Note: Incidence counts cover about 96% of the U.S. population and death counts cover 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution in comparing incidence and death counts.Photo Credit Microsoft Clip
Date: November 10-13, 2011
Venue: Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 483-NMAC (6622)
“The United States Conference on AIDS (USCA), set for November 10-13, 2011, at Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, in Chicago, IL, is an event you cannot afford to miss. For nearly two decades, USCA has sought ‘to increase the strength and diversity of the community-based response to the AIDS epidemic through education, training, new partnerships, collaboration and networking.’
It is the largest AIDS-related gathering in the U.S., bringing together over 3,000 workers from all fronts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic—from case managers and physicians, to public health workers and advocates, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH/As) to policymakers—to build national support networks, exchange the latest information and learn cutting-edge tools to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS. We hope you will be one of them.” –Paul A. Kawata, The Executive Director of the National Minority AIDS Council
Sources:National Minority AIDS Council. Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Event Dates: October 19-22, 2011
The 37th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes will be a three (3) day event held from October 19-22, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. The meeting announcement indicates that there will be plenary sessions, symposia, paper and poster sessions, and workshops addressing the cutting edge science of pediatric diabetes care.
The theme of the 2011 meeting will be “Possibilities for Prevention of Diabetes and its Complications.” Alan Delamater, Conference President, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, states that, “We all work to prevent complications in our patients with diabetes. The best chances for accomplishing this is through integrated comprehensive care addressing medical, behavioral, and psychosocial needs and this issue will be highlighted in the meeting. We will also focus on primary prevention of diabetes. My colleague and co-chair of the organizing committee, Jay Skyler, MD, will lead a special session on the latest efforts to prevent type 1 diabetes in children, and we will also have sessions focusing on obesity and type 2 diabetes.”
Venue: Miami Beach, Florida.
Organized by: K.I.T. Group GmbH.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Date: November 3, 2011
Venue: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel, North Bethesda, MD
According to the website, “The primary audience for the 2011 Workshop includes scientists from academic institutions, industry and regulatory agencies with an interest in research, development and translation of cancer immunotherapy. The Workshop will incorporate presentations by key investigators in the field and interactive discussions on immunotherapy combinations, including investigations on co-administration of multiple immunotherapeutics and strategies that combine immunotherapy with conventional cancer treatment.
The program organizers are currently reviewing recent clinical and preclinical data, research trends and evaluations from the 2010 meeting to define program goals and expected learner outcomes to ensure another successful program. Please check back soon for updated information.”
Alan J. Korman, PhD – Bristol-Myers Squibb
Ignacio Melero, MD, PhD – University of Navarra
Hideho Okada, MD, PhD – University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Suzanne L. Topalian, MD – Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Teens are seriously at risk for dating violence. Annually, 1 out of 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006). Like domestic violence perpetuated by adults, teen dating violence is a pattern of controlling, and abusive behaviors of one person over another within a romantic relationship. Teens who abuse their girlfriends or boyfriends often act the same as adults in abusive relationships. Research shows that physical or sexual abuse is a part of 1 in 3 high school relationships. Many of these cases of teen dating violence could have been prevented by helping adolescents to develop skills for healthy relationships with others (Foshee et al. 2005).
Teen dating violence is just as serious as adult domestic violence. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse. It can occur in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It knows no boundaries and crosses race, socio-economic status, culture, and religion. Violence can happen to anyone. Like adults, teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
This month, many of my posts have addressed issues related to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and exposing myths about this phenomenon. Access to information is integral to breaking the cycle of violence. Toward that goal, I would like to direct your attention to very help informational resources related to domestic violence intervention, prevention, and community outreach. For further information on teen dating violence, here are several websites you can visit: www.thesafespace.org; and www.breakthecycle.org.
Unlike every other public health problem, violence permeates the psyche of every man, woman, and child who reside in our extended community. Our society appears to be waiting on a miracle or an outside intervention to change the status quo. The only way we will eradicate domestic violence is when we agree upon coordinated solutions to implement in a collaborative manner. Violence is a condition of the heart that can only change when individual citizens decide that it is time for a change…that it is time for the violence to cease.
Over 15 million children in our nation live in homes where there has been at least one incident of domestic violence in the past year, and seven million children live in families where severe partner violence has occurred. Data indicates that 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the home. Growing up in abusive household can pose a threat to not only the child’s physical health but his mental health as well.
Research indicates that the non-abusive parent is often one the most important protective factors in the lives of children who witness domestic violence. All women, children, and men have the right to live in a safe environment and to conduct their lives without emotional, physical or sexual abuse or the fear of abuse.
Often, one of the greatest concerns for battered women is the affect of living in a violent home environment on children. In some instances, the domestic becomes so severe that women with children leave their homes without a place to go. Research indicates that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness. In a 2007 report by the United States Conference of Mayors, thirty-nine percent of the city leaders who were surveyed identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness among households with children.
Victims of domestic violence experience difficulty finding housing. There simply are not sufficient beds to house all the battered women and their children seeking shelter. The U.S. Conference of Mayors report indicated that city leaders turn persons experiencing homelessness away from shelters and transitional housing because of lack of capacity all or some of the time. Not only do battered women experience challenges in securing a bed in a shelter, they also often have difficulty securing a safe, decent, affordable apartment.
Domestic violence thrives on apathy. It can be eradicated with an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action. How you can help? Advocate for increased funding for domestic violence programs and public housing.
Sources:United States Conference of Mayors. Center for Diseaese Control & Prevention (CDC), National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. McDonald, Renee, Ernest N. Jouriles, Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler, et al. 2006. Estimating the Number of American Children Living in Partner-Violent Families; Edelson, J.L. (1999). “The Overlap Between Child Maltreatment and Women Battering.” Violence Against Women. 5:134-154; U.S. Conference of Mayors. 2007. A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities: A 23-City Survey. Washington, DC.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art