Social Justice

November 5, 2006

If Middle Way House Executive Director Toby Strout has her way, it won't be long before rooftop gardens take root on the former Coca-Cola plant on Washington Street, just southeast of the Courthouse square.

All she has to do is convince the architect it's possible. That, and find a way to raise $4 million to pay for it.

"The architect said we could put a green roof only on the new construction," Strout tells a recent visitor to her compact office. "That's not good enough."

The women's advocacy group wants to establish a "green building" over the next three years as it redevelops the site into a mixed-use property for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

October 7, 2006

Three construction workers are laying cement. No, not in a bar, but stay with me. One is flattening the cement with a shovel, one is using a broom to sweep the cement into a pattern, and one is "supervising" the other men's physical labor. The "supervisor" says to a young woman walking past, "See him sweep? He's gonna make a real good wife someday."

In reality, this isn't a joke. It's what the supervisor of the men laying the sidewalks on my street said to me last week. I admit, I laughed at first. By telling me this joke, the supervisor was including me in his upper crust. We, together, could laugh at the man who was sweeping, clearly a weak, submissive job.

Seconds later I thought my suffragette grandmothers must have been rolling over in their graves. How dare I be so arrogant in my virtually non-challenged young womanhood to laugh at a woman joke. I, so pampered by the benefits that my sisters and mothers battled misogynistic iniquities to bless me with, just laughed at a woman joke!

July 30, 2006

Monroe County has reached a milestone in community health care with the opening the county's new family planning clinic, according to Charlotte Zietlow.

Although most counties in Indiana provide health care services to their citizens, this is the first time Monroe has done so, the former county commissioner said. The Monroe County Health Department had contracted out virtually all health care.

"I am very excited about the fact that we now have real health services provided by the county health department," Zietlow said. "My long-range dream is that this will work so well that Monroe County will begin to think in terms of broader primary health care. Someone has to do it."

June 18, 2006

Indiana's branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is tackling Indiana's drug legislation on two fronts — medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

Beth Soloe, head of Indiana NORML, presented her medical marijuana bill to State Sen. Vi Simpson (D — Ellettsville) on May 12 at her Indianapolis office. Soloe's bill, which is designed after California's Compassionate Use Act of 1996, would protect medical marijuana users, their physicians and licensed medical marijuana growers and distributors from prosecution.

Accompanying her was local Bloomington gynecologist Dr. Clark Brittain. Brittain, who has practiced medicine for over 25 years, is an expert on medical marijuana and called it "one of the safest pharmaceuticals we could hope to have."

June 4, 2006

Viviane Saleh-Hanna, outgoing president of the IU African Students Association, was enjoying a cup of coffee at Soma and working on her dissertation on May 2nd when she received an e-mail notifying her that the African American Cultural Center Library was going to be closed.

"I was outraged," she said. "I knew that something had to be done."

That evening, Saleh-Hanna, along with other organization leaders and dozens of concerned students, staged a sit-in at the library, which is housed in the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center (NMBCC).

May 7, 2006

She wants to be a graphic-designer, an animator, an artist, a writer. She is 10 years old. He, currently, talks about being a postman, while adding double digits in his head on a car ride to nursery school. He is four.

These are my "step"children. These are my children. I am 26. He is a brilliant musician, computer programmer, and father. He is 36, and he is my husband. Our ages only matter in numbers and years, in Census Bureau statistics and insurance premiums.

We sit together at a table for six — two spare chairs are filled with homework, newspapers, art supplies and musical instruments. We eat dinner, sometimes, as a family, and other times, in our separate rooms watching Nickelodeon or HGTV. We fuss and fight just like any other family, and make up even better, we like to think.

We are liberal, we are free-thinking, we are cultural, and we are curious learners living in a town that fills our curiosities every day.

April 9, 2006

Rape has one of the lowest reporting rates of any crime — only 16 to 28 percent of victims file reports with the police, according to the National Victim Center and the Department of Justice.

Statistics from Middle Way House's Rape Crisis Center report that since August 2005, 16 IU students reported sexual assaults to the police. If the percentage of unreported assaults is applied to this number, between 57 and 100 students have been assaulted since the beginning of the school year.

On Thursday, April 20, 100 IU students will hold a demonstration outside Woodburn Hall representing the number of student victims sexually assaulted at IU Bloomington since August 2005.

April 9, 2006

News Release
American Indian Student Association
Native American Graduate Student Association

"When I came to IU, I heard that the American Indian Student Association had an office," said American Indian Student Association (AISA) Chair Jayme Smith (Dakota), freshman. "Imagine my surprise when I found out that AISA was practically working out of a closet."

"We're grateful to the Graduate House staff for making room for us in their own building, especially considering their space constraints" added Native American Graduate Student Association (NAGSA) Co-Chair Meredith Johnson (Chickasaw). "But it's time we had a proper cultural center of our own."

American Indian students at IU have been meeting in borrowed spaces around campus and at private homes, using their six-by-seven foot office with its 1993 computer system primarily for storage of archival material and their growing collection of American Indian related books and scholarship information, built over 10 years by AISA students.

February 11, 2006

Passage of HB 1172 could add as many as 150 new medical experts to our healthcare provider community here in Indiana. By sheer virtue of their office, members of the General Assembly will vote to practice medicine!

These 150 potential new members of the medical community already have impressive résumés: business owners, human resource professionals, attorneys, and a few "real" doctors. But the passage of HB 1172 will boost them directly into the practice of medicine!

By simply casting votes, they will achieve a medical miracle: they will answer the age-old question about when life begins. With the push of a button, life will begin at conception in Indiana! Not in Ohio or Kentucky or Illinois, but at least in Indiana.

February 11, 2006

Aaron Haack demonstrates a jump shot to one of his buddies on the court, a friend who is half his height and one third his age.

"Your left is your guide hand," he says. "It's your right that gives your shot power. ... Nice! Good work!"

Haack, who has been part of the Boys & Girls Club scene for five years, knows the program well.

"I worked all four years throughout college — and three summers also — as a gym supervisor, with this being my first year as recreation director," he says.

He says working for the now-century-old organization seems almost as if it were inevitable.

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