Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Aimee E Dewaal represented Philadelphia NOW at the International Women's Dayrally

Congratulations to Sherrie Cohen and the International Women's Day Committee for the wonderful celebration of International Women's Day on Sunday March 8.

Aimee E Dewaal represented Philadelphia NOW at the rally. Here is a transcript of Aimee’s inspirational speech:

International Women’s Day is a celebration of women from around the world. This event has taken place every year for about one hundred years. In 1909 the first National Woman's Day was observed in the United States on February 28th. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honor of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York. On March 25th, the tragic 'Triangle Fire' in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labor legislation in the United States. On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. And In 1913, International Women's Day was transferred to March 8th and has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since. IWD is now an official holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Ukraine, Vietnam and more.

International Women’s Day is the time to celebrate dynamic women like Mary Harris Jones who is known as Mother Jones. She organized children working in mills and mines in the "Children's Crusade", a march from Kensington, Pennsylvania to Oyster Bay, New York, the home of President Theodore Roosevelt with banners demanding "We want to go to School and not the mines!" the incident brought the issue of child labor to the public’s attention. Mother Jones was also involved in the rail strike of 1877, in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, and she organized the coal fields of Pennsylvania in 1899.

On this day we celebrate the many women who have fought for women’s rights so that today, women can have executive positions and women can now be elected to office. But we cannot forget that there is still a great need for change in the world. Equality still does not exist for all of our sisters. Today we have the opportunity to create more positive change for women. All of us come here with different backgrounds and issues. But what unites us is that we are all women. And as women, we must unite to create change in the world. We cannot solve our issues alone. As Patrick Henry said, “United we stand, divided we fall”.

Take advantage of this day. Get to know one another, seek out the resources that surround you. We can network and fight for each other’s causes. International Women’s Day is a celebration of those women who have paved the way for us, but it is also a celebration of the freedom we have to progress the women’s movement even further. Mother Jones said, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living! Now let’s enjoy our day, International Women’s Day! Thank you!

Philadelphia NOW protests CVS practice of practice of locking up condoms, especially in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color

Tom Ryan
CVS Caremark Corporation
One CVS Drive
Woonsocket, RI 02895

Dear Mr. Ryan,
The Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women is part of a national coalition of community organizations, health care educators and advocates. We believe the practice of locking up condoms, especially in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, is both short-sighted and dangerous.
On February 12th, organizations in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles called on CVS to unlock condoms in all communities. We are very happy that your corporation has taken a positive first step by unlocking condoms in its Philadelphia and Boston stores. However, it is crucial that this same access be provided to consumers in all cities and in all communities.
We urge CVS to put the health of our communities first and adopt a written policy that ensures condoms are permanently unlocked in all communities across the country, regardless of race.
Please consider the following staggering statistics, evidence of the public health crisis our communities face:
• Nationwide, HIV/AIDS is the No. 1 killer of black American women between 25 and 34. And rates (of infection) for Hispanic women nationally are four times those of white women, while rates for black women are 15 times those of white women.
• Over the past decade, gay men and other men who have sex with men face rising rates of HIV infection, with the highest rates in young black gay and bisexual men. Nearly half - 46% - of Black gay and bisexual men are believed to already be infected.
• A sexually active teenager who doesn't use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within one year, and approximately 750,000 teens become pregnant each year.
• Every year 3 million teens acquire an STD.
Clearly we cannot afford to stigmatize or limit access to condoms, creating unnecessary barriers to safe-sex practices. Your closest competitor, Walgreens, has a policy against locking up condoms in any of its stores. We hope that you will follow Walgreens’ lead in promoting better health practices in all communities.
We stand with communities across the country in saying “Cure CVS Now!” We will continue to keep a watchful eye on CVS and its role in providing care to our communities.

Karen Bojar
President, Philadephia chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Phildelphia NOW joins campaign against CVS for offering expired goods for sale

Shelley R. Smith, Esq., City Solicitor
City of Philadelphia Law Department
City Solicitor’s Office
One Parkway, 1515 Arch Street, 17th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102-1595

Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing on behalf of the Philadephia chapter of the National Organization for Women.

A few months ago our members learned that CVS--the nation’s largest retail drugstore--has been repeatedly caught offering expired goods for sale including medicine, milk, eggs and even infant formula. We were particularly shocked to discover that quite a few of the expired products on CVS shelves are made for infants and children.
CVS’ expired goods problem was documented here in Philadelphia and cities throughout the country. The Attorneys General in both New York and California called on CVS to stop selling expired products.

In early January of this year, reporter Joyce Evans from Fox 29 exposed the continued presence of expired products for sale at CVS stores in Philadelphia. In response to her inquiries, CVS claimed to have addressed this serious problem.
Unfortunately, it has recently come to my attention that despite the public outrage and regulatory scrutiny directed at CVS, Philadelphia residents are still finding expired products on local CVS shelves!

Examples of expired products Philadelphia consumers recently found include CVS brand Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief (expired December 2007, purchased March 4, 2009) and Infants Mylicon Gas Relief (expired March of 2007, purchased January 29, 2009) among others.

Philadelphia residents deserve protection from this potentially harmful practice. Not only is selling expired goods against CVS’ own policy, but it threatens the safety and health of consumers. As City Solicitor of Philadelphia we ask that you help protect Philadelphia consumers. Please make CVS clean up their act!

Karen Bojar
President, Philadephia chapter of the National Organization for Women.