tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-21429470068075777102016-05-20T15:52:11.090-04:00Passion for the PossibleIdeas for those determined to make the world a better placeTracy Moaverohttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08280055712515863977noreply@blogger.comBlogger3125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2142947006807577710.post-88694379536992110272011-09-22T01:40:00.001-04:002011-09-22T01:56:11.979-04:00In memoriam: What my Midwestern housewife grandmother taught me about social justiceToday my family will bury my grandma, subject of my most popular blog post: <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2011/02/what-planned-parenthood-means-to-my-92.html">What Planned Parenthood means to my 92 year old grandmother</a>.<br /><br />In eulogizing her last night, I talked about what I learned from her. <br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://passionforthepossible.org/images/undergraduate-student-life.jpeg" imageanchor="1" style="clear:left; float:left;margin-right:1em; margin-bottom:1em"><img border="0" height="244" width="320" src="http://passionforthepossible.org/images/confused-male-student.jpeg" /></a></div><br /><b>Fairness for workers</b>: Wife of a UAW member-Alcoa metalworker, Grandma was an ardent supporters of unions. She didn't believe that corporate executives or their political cronies would protect "the working man," which for her included women, so workers had to stick together. <br /><br /><b>Racial and ethnic equality</b>: She didn't like how black kids were treated when they started coming to the neighborhood pool years ago, and she didn't understand fighting between groups of European immigrants. Her husband and mother were rude to my father when he was dating my mom because he was "guinea" (Italian), but Grandma was always kind to him. Years later when challenged my grandfather on his prejudice toward my dad, she took my side.<br /><br /><b>Gay equality</b>: I remember how angry she was about the 1992 Colorado vote to prohibit civil rights protections for LGBT people. She said, "These people aren't bothering anyone. Just leave them alone!" Later, when she learned that my cousin is gay, she admitted she didn't fully understand these sorts of things since her generation never talked about them, but she had no problem with it. End of discussion.<br /><br /><b>Voting</b>: She was born in 1918, a year and a half before women could vote in the United States. From the age of 21 on, she proudly never missed a single election. She had no patience for people who didn't vote, and she resisted switching to an absentee ballot in her later years because she was so glad to go vote in person. One of her favorite movies was <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2011/06/12-reasons-why-i-care-about-gay-rights.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=open&toggle=MONTHLY-1362114000000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1306900800000">Iron Jawed Angels</a>.<br /><br /><b>Women's rights</b>: Excited by the many advances women made in her lifetime, she burst with pride when I became the first in the family to graduate from college, and she loved seeing her granddaughters get educations, develop careers and be independent. When I called to say I was moving to Europe, she said "Oh thank God! I thought you were going to say you were getting married." Not one to express affection, she was so moved by me calling her from a reproductive rights march on the National Mall so she could hear the crowd that for the first time she told me she loved me. <br /><br /><b>Schools</b>: While seniors have a reputation of voting against school tax levies, she always voted for them, even though her kids went to Catholic school. Always. She said it was everyone's responsibility.<br /><br /><b>Generosity</b>: Grandma gave to charities that mattered to her, but a few people in my family, myself included, were given checks to pass along to someone we'd mentioned was having a rough time. In my case it was a check for a homeless mother I knew who'd just lost a newborn to SIDS. She never drew attention to her giving. She just did it. <br /><br /><b>Fun</b>: Growing up, Grandma was an avid tennis player, swimmer and runner. She ran so fast in her blue uniform that her friends called her "Flaming Blue," a name she gave her fantasy football team in her 80s. She loved watching baseball, but little pleased her more than a Sunday with three football games to watch from lunchtime til bedtime. And if you called her mid-game, she'd refuse to talk until halftime. <br /><br />She was quite straightlaced in many ways, but she had a mischievous side. She liked when I'd call her with jokes, but she liked the bawdy ones most of all. When my cousin and I called her from an Indians baseball game she was watching on TV, she said to flash the cameras so we'd get on TV. And in this last year, she flirted with her "boyfriends," men who worked at her nursing home. When she was like this, she got a wonderful twinkle in her eye. <br /><br />What does football and being flirty have to do with social justice? Plenty. Grandma had time for the serious things in life, but she also loved the play and humor that makes life fun.<br /><br />And that's what I'll remember about her most of all. A popular quote attributed to a headstone in Ireland goes “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” <br /><br />While I'm terribly sad that she's gone, I'll always cherish that joyful, mischievous twinkle.Tracy Moaverohttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08280055712515863977noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2142947006807577710.post-35948083583748705372011-06-25T13:49:00.004-04:002011-06-25T13:54:00.385-04:0012 Reasons Why I Care about Marriage Equality & Gay Rights<ol>A far from complete list, in no particular order: <li> <b>Rosita</b> and her partner having me witness their wills since they needed some form of legal protection as a couple who can't marry.<br /><li><b>Jen</b> avoiding using her fiancee's name while interviewing by phone for a job in another city despite needing to discuss the move for her fiancee's studies.<br /><li><b>Shelley</b> carefully disguising written materials she was sending to lesbians in countries hostile to LGBT people to avoid endangering these women.<br /><li><b>Steve</b> being afraid to walk home each night for fear of being attacked.<br /><li><b>Nancy</b> not being able to be on her girlfriend's health insurance.<br /><li><b>Jennifer's</b> family rejecting her.<br /><li><b>Larry</b> saying <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2010_06_01_archive.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=open&toggle=YEARLY-1357016400000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1275364800000">he'd used his military training to protect himself</a> against gay bashing attacks.<br /><li>Coworkers who've looked anxious when first mentioning to me that they're gay.<br /><li><b>Frank</b> enduring years of turmoil, <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2009/10/we-can-really-do-something-with-kids.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=open&toggle=MONTHLY-1385874000000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1254369600000">not being able to accept himself as a gay man until his 50's</a>.<br /><li><b>Brian</b> telling me about the rose from a romantic high school boyfriend, adding that "of course I gave it back to him before I went into the house." <br /><li>Seeing how many lesbians at the <b>UN Conference on Women in Beijing</b> were the driving force behind initiatives helping women of all walks of life, yet hearing some women insist "we don't have lesbians in our countries."<br /><li> Cousin <b>Laura</b><br /></li><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /></ol>Tracy Moaverohttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08280055712515863977noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2142947006807577710.post-77739046375646118602009-10-22T07:44:00.001-04:002013-12-31T17:50:29.213-05:00When Our Supporters Surprise Us: What We Can Learn from the Marriage Equality Campaigns<blockquote><i>"What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?"&nbsp;</i></blockquote>World War II veteran Philip Spooner was quoting himself during recent testimony before the Maine Judiciary Committee. He was recalling his answer to a woman's query at the polls on Election Day. She asked if he believed in equality for gay and lesbian people. In his powerful statement (here on <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2010_03_01_archive.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=open&toggle=MONTHLY-1283313600000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1267419600000">YouTube.com</a>), Mr. Spooner talks about how he believed he was defending freedom and equality during the war. He also speaks of how he and his wife raised four sons, one of whom is gay, never thinking that one would be denied the opportunities of the other three. <br /><br />Mr. Spooner might be considered unusual in his commitment to equal rights for gays and lesbians, being an elderly VFW member and Republican. But that's where those of us working on issues considered "liberal" or "progressive" often make a mistake. We forget that few people fit neatly into liberal and conservative boxes.<br /><br />Like Mr. Spooner, my 90 year old grandmother strongly supports gay rights, and did so well before she knew one of her grandchildren was gay. She's also a lifelong Catholic who supports the full spectrum of reproductive rights, including abortion, because she remembers how hard it was before women had the access to reproductive care we do now.<br /><br />As the demographic research of the advertising world has spilled over into nonprofit issue campaigns, I fear that we sometimes lazily conflate "likely" with "always." I have liberal friends here in Washington who get tired of people being shocked that they are from conservative states like Mississippi or Kentucky. No state is monolithic, as many people discovered when Proposition 8 passed in California. Famous for its liberal areas, the state has sharply conservative ones as well.<br /><br />Planning campaigns with target audiences determined by geography, party affiliation, age, race and gender can help decide where and how to spend our resources. But let's make sure that we are working from knowledge, not assumptions. We can't convince people to support our causes if we don't talk with them, and we need to reach the people who do agree but have never been asked to take action.<br /><br />Mr. Spooner is far from the only person in Maine who supports equality despite not fitting into the liberal box. Protect Maine Equality has been running terrific ads demonstrating the support for their cause, as in <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2010_09_01_archive.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=open&toggle=MONTHLY-1277956800000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1283313600000">this ad </a>with a Catholic mom who's proud of her son, son-in-law and grandson.<br /><br />What do you think? Where do we get it right, and how can we do better?Tracy Moaverohttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08280055712515863977noreply@blogger.com1