Archive for October, 2019

Equal Pay Activist Lilly Ledbetter- a closer look

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! As we are deep in the midst of our customers finalizing their plans for Spring 2020, for programs like Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we’re taking a closer look at Lilly Ledbetter!

The best explanation of what happened to Lilly at Goodyear comes from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s dissenting opinion in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear:

 

“Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber’s plant in Gadsden, Alabama, from 1979 until her retirement in 1998. For most of those years, she worked as an area manager, a position largely occupied by men. Initially, Ledbetter’s salary was in line with the salaries of men performing substantially similar work. Over time, however, her pay slipped in comparison to the pay of male area managers with equal or less seniority. By the end of 1997, Ledbetter was the only woman working as an area manager and the pay discrepancy between Ledbetter and her 15 male counterparts was stark: Ledbetter was paid $3,727 per month; the lowest paid male area manager received $4,286 per month, the highest paid, $5,236”

 

Ginsberg went on to say that the appropriate remedy to this injustice was to re-write the laws governing fair pay … and in 2009, President Barack Obama’s first act was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This law gave women standing to sue employers for gender-based pay inequity, which helped all American women … except Lilly Ledbetter, whose case preceded the law.

Despite this (or perhaps because of it) Lilly has spent the last decade championing for women’s pay equity, and for gender equity in general. She has given scores of inspirational lectures at universities, conferences, and union conventions.

 

The University of Pennsylvania notes “Wow! Wow! Wow! Your commencement speech last week was one of the most moving, inspirational, and quite frankly the best speech I have heard in my entire tenure as dean. I am not alone in my sentiments. I have heard nothing but praise for you from faculty, students and staff.”

(photo by Megan Bean / © Mississippi State University)

The Texas Civil Rights Project wrote “Lilly was absolutely fabulous and so kind and sociable.  Everyone LOVED her, and her speech was very inspiring and moving.  People were lining up after she spoke to buy her book and meet her. We couldn’t have asked for more– she was absolutely delightful.  It was truly an honor for all of us to meet her and talk with her.  She is a hero.”

 

Let us know if you’d like to have Lilly Ledbetter speak for your organization, conference, or university! Write us at inquiries@jodisolomonspeakers.com

 

—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!

 


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Environmental Activist/Biologist Sandra Steingraber – a closer look

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

Happy Wednesday! As part of our focus on our most-requested speakers for Spring 2020, we’re going to take a closer look at biologist/activist Sandra Steingraber.

    

The Sierra Club declared that Dr. Steingraber was “the new Rachel Carson”. That’s quite a reputation to live up to! But because of her scholarship, her writing, and her activism, she has more than earned it.

 

Dr. Steingraber was diagnosed with cancer while an undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan University. While successfully recovering from the illness, she discovered many relatives who had also developed cancer. At first blush, you might think that was a clue to a genetic cause of the disease … except Dr. Steingraber was adopted! She did not share her relative’s DNA, but what they did share was a common water table in agricultural land.

After completing her Ph.D. in Biological Science from University of Michigan, Dr. Steingraber was a field researcher, and began her own research and writing into her experience with cancer, and how chemical run-off from farms was polluting the local water supply. This became her first book on the environment, Living Downstream. Just as Carson had described her own battle with bladder cancer in Silent Spring, Dr. Steingraber used her experiences as a biologist and cancer survivor to inform her writing and research. The book would be widely praised for its’ academic rigor and deeply personal reflection.

 

In Living Downstream, she wrote “To the 89 percent of Illinois that is farmland, an estimated 54 million pounds of synthetic pesticides are applied each year. Introduced into Illinois at the end of World War II, these chemical poisons quietly familiarized themselves with the landscape. In 1950, less than 10 percent of cornfields were sprayed with pesticides. In 1993, 99 percent were chemically treated…”

Her next two books, Having Faith and Raising Elijah, continued her research on environmental impacts on human health, in pregnancy and in the developing child, respectively.

 

She continues to actively protest fracking and natural gas storage issues in her community, which has garnered her national attention and several nights in the county jail for civil disobedience, including her recent arrest on the steps of the US Capitol Building with environmental activists that included Jane Fonda and Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard.

The many awards and recognitions Dr. Steingraber has received include the Heinze Environmental Champion award, the biennial Rachel Carson Leadership Award from Chatham College (Carson’s alma mater), Ms. MagazineWoman of the Year”, and one of the “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing The World” from Utne Reader magazine.

 

Let us know if you’d like to bring Sandra Steingraber to speak to your organization, campus, or conference!

 

—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!

 

 


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Daisy Hernandez- Journalist, Memoirist, Author Daisy Hernandez- a closer look

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! For the next few weeks, we’re going to review the speakers everyone’s asking us about for their Spring 2020 events!

 

This week, we’re going to take a closer look at journalist/memoirist/creative writing professor Daisy Hernández!

Describing her newest publication, Daisy notes “ with my comadre, the author Bushra Rehman, I co-edited the anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. That first edition came out in 2002. USA Today calls the book 1 of the ’27 Things To Read If You Care About Women Of Color’ and Buzzfeed says it’s 1 of ’19 Books On Intersectionality That Taylor Swift Should Read.’  Colonize This! in it’s new edition is now available!

 

Indeed, we are getting early reports of the new edition of Colonize This has being added to many Women’s Studies/Ethnic Studies/Sociology course assigned texts!

 

“As a memoirist, journalist and cultural activist, I’ve been speaking at colleges, conferences and organizations for the past twelve years on feminism, race, immigration, queer issues, and spirituality. I love sharing with audiences the lessons I’ve learned and the ways that we can create inclusive and racially just communities.”  Here’s Daisy at a recent residency at Davidson College (NC).

 

Daisy Hernández is also the author of the award-winning memoir A Cup of Water Under My Bed. The former editor of ColorLines magazine, she has reported for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate, and she has written for NPR’s All Things Considered and CodeSwitch. Her essays and fiction have appeared in Aster(ix), Bellingham Review, Brevity, Dogwood, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, Juked, and Rumpus among other journals. A contributing editor for the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, Daisy is an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at Miami University in Ohio.

Daisy writes: “I grew up in New Jersey where I heard the best stories about Cuba and Colombia and this lady who knows how to eat an avocado so you won’t get pregnant. It’s also where I first learned about feminism, queer identity, race and immigration in the Americas. You can read these stories in my memoir, A Cup of Water Under My Bed, which won the 2015 IPPY award for best coming-of-age memoir and the 2014 Bisexual Book Award for best memoir. The memoir is now available in Spanish with a new afterword about underwear and the politics of language.”

 

Let us know if you’d like to bring Daisy Hernández to speak to your organization, campus, or conference!

 

—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!

 


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Environmental Justice scholar/activist Robert Bullard – a closer look

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Happy Wednesday!  We’re going to use the next few weeks to highlight speakers on topics and issues of interest to people planning Spring 2020 events; especially folks planning for the King holiday, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and/or Earth Day.

 

This week, we’re taking a closer look at Dr. Robert Bullard, the ‘father of environmental justice

How does one become so named? In the early 80’s, Dr. Bullard was researching the location of solid waste dumps in metropolitan Houston.  Dr. Bullard and his researchers found that African American neighborhoods in Houston were often chosen for toxic waste sites. All five city-owned garbage dumps, six of the eight city-owned garbage incinerators, and three of the four privately owned landfills were sited in black neighborhoods, although blacks made up only 25 percent of the city’s population.

 

This proved to be the tip of the iceberg; Dr. Bullard’s decades of research and activism have turned up hundreds of examples of how communities of color are exposed to greater environmental pollution of the air, water, and soil.

In 1990 Bullard published his first book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality. In the book, Dr. Bullard wrote that the Environmental Justice Movement, a grassroots movement by people of color then spreading across America to protest environmental racism, signified a new convergence of the civil rights movement and the environmental movement of the 1960s.

 

He has continued his scholarship, and his activism, ever since. When asked what keeps him going in his quest for environmental justice, Bullard answered, “People who fight… People who do not let the garbage trucks and the landfills and the petrochemical plants roll over them … And in the last 10 years, we’ve been winning: lawsuits are being won, reparations are being paid, apologies are being made. These companies have been put on notice that they can’t do this anymore, anywhere.”

 

But the battle continues; Flint, Michigan still does not have safe water to drink; Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey already shows signs of neglect to the communities of color most affected by the flooding; and Puerto Rico’s struggles to recover from Hurricane Irma are a national disgrace.

Let us know if you’d like to bring Robert Bullard to speak to your organization, campus, or conference!

 

—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!

 

 


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STEM Activist Christine McKinley – a closer look

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

Happy Wednesday! This week, we’re going to take a closer look at Christine McKinley!

Christine is a mechanical engineer running her own engineering firm and managing industrial and commercial construction projects… but that hardly scratches the surface of her experiences and interests! She has also hosted two television shows: Under New York on the History Channel and DECODED on the Discovery Channel. She’s also a musician and playwright, and author of Physics for Rock Stars.

Christine is a passionate and hilarious Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education advocate. She explains to students how an understanding of physics will help them execute a proper stage dive and win a fistfight on a speeding train. Christine leads by example, showing young people how to create a “hand made life” by choosing a career in engineering, science, and anything else they want to add.

 

She is admittedly a little nuts about physics… and excited to inspire young people (especially those who might not think about STEM majors) to learn more about science and engineering …

Here’s a short video of a radio interview with Christine, where she explains the connection between physics, the periodic table … and dating!

 

Let us know if you’d like to bring Christine McKinley to your organization, campus, or conference!

 

—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!

 


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