Monday, August 30, 2021

"What We Learned from Beitita" Tribute to Elizabeth "Betita Martinez Part 3 Margo Okazawa-Rey, Host


Leading, historicizing, challenging contradictions, infusing joy, living and being powerful as a romantic, challenging “oppression Olympics,” surrounding herself with beauty, and taking care of herself. These are the ways my guests described Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez today.


This is the final segment of the 3-part tribute to our Beloved activist scholar, organizer, visionary troublemaker with exquisite flair, the late Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez who passed away on June 29 at the age of 95. During her life journey, she crossed and re-drew borders, envisaged and worked to realize a future where everyone is not only liberated, but thriving. She authored the ground-breaking 500 Years of Chicano History and 500 Years of Chicano Women’s History, was an intellectual and political foundation of Chicana Studies, founded the Institute for Multiracial Justice, and did and was much more.  Betita also was anti-imperialist and a mother.

Click To listen 58 mins.


About the Guests

Sofia Martinez is a New Mexican activist, organizer, and educator. She is Co-founder of Los Jardines Institute based in Albuquerque, NM. Los Jardines’ work focuses on environmental and food justice and intergenerational anti-racist, sharing and education. She is also a Co-founder and co-producer of Voces Feministas, a women-of-color radio show of politics, art, culture, news and information highlighting women of color on KUNM FM in Albuquerque.


(Ana) Clarissa Rojas Durazo grew up in the border cities Mexicali, Baja California and Calexico, California. She practices transformative mama pedagogies by day while decolonizing chicanx studies pedagogies by trade. She teaches at UC Davis where she is affiliated with Cultural Studies and Gender Studies. She is an internationally published poet who believes the creative spirit will end violence. Clarissa co-edited Color of Violence: the INCITE Anthology and Community Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence. Her writing appears most recently in Truthout, Sinister Wisdom Journal and Basta Anthology: 100 Latinas Write on Violence Against Women.


Tessa Koning-Martinez is Betita's Beloved Daughter.




US Feminists and Women's Movements Responsibilities in Afghanistan and US Foreign Policy Margo Okazawa-Rey Host


As promised last week, in today’s show my guests will discuss US feminists’ role specifically in Afghanistan and more generally in US foreign policy, which has wreaked havoc everywhere and materially benefited elites in the US and worldwide.  There is lot of coverage now about Afghanistan, Afghan women, "feminists" supporting invasion, etc., but very little about the role of US-based feminists in opposing US foreign policy regarding Afghanistan and more generally. I also want to point out how the crisis in Haiti, another country where US policies over the decades have resulted in horrific conditions there, has dropped off the news. Not surprising.

My guests join me today to engage the following questions and more: What are/should be US feminists' and women's movements' roles and responsibilities in dealing with the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and in addressing US foreign policy more generally? What must we understand about US foreign policy to be able to be in ethical and meaningful solidarities with feminists around the world? Our conversation will be both historical and aspirational.


We listen first to Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC focusing on Middle East, U.S. wars and UN issues. This clip is taken from a CODE PINK webinar Afghanistan: Who’s to Blame and What Next? held on August 16. Special shout out to Madison Tang and Code Pink for this contribution to our show. You can find the link to the full recording by clicking on the link below.

To listen, click here 58 mins.

Guest Bios

Ann Wright was in the US Army/Army Reserves for 29 years and retired as a Colonel.  She was a US diplomat for 16 years and served in US Embassies in various locations around the world including Afghanistan.  She was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2001 and stayed 5 months.  She resigned from the US government in March 2003 in opposition to the US war on Iraq.  She returned to Afghanistan many times after she resigned from the government.  She has traveled to other notable places on the US foreign policy landscape including Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea as a citizen diplomat.

Cindy Clark is a US-based feminist and current Co-Executive Director of AWID, a global feminist membership organization committed to supporting women’s rights and gender justice movements to thrive. She has over 20 years of experience in various organizations doing advocacy, strategizing, and organizing to advance women’s human rights.

Charlotte Bunch is Founding Director and Senior Scholar, Center for Women's Global Leadership Rutgers University. She has been has been an activist, writer and organizer in feminist, LGBT, and human rights movements for over four decades.   She has been involved in many civil society efforts at the UN, including advocating for women’s rights as human rights, organizing at the UN World Conferences for Women from 1975-95, and advocating for the creation of UN Women.  


Action: Starts 1 September! Use hashtags ONLY FROM THEN!


Center for Women's Global Leadership 

Code Pink Radio "Afghanistan: Who's to Blame and What Next?


International Women's Network against Militarism

Sweet Honey in the Rock "Study War No More"



Thursday, July 29, 2021

“What We Learned from Betita” Tribute to Elizabeth "Betita" Martinez Part 2 Margo Okazawa-Rey, Host

Today's show is the second in a three-part tribute to the late Chicana feminist, socialist, internationalist author, activist, and movement leader Betita Martinez who passed away on June 29, 2021 at the age of 95. This show features past tributes by Favianna Rodriguez and Angela Davis along with an excerpt of recorded remembrance at a recent memorial for former Women of Color Resource Center Board members shared by WCRC Founder/Executive Director and scholar activist Linda Burnham. The show also includes memories from call-in listeners.

To listen, click here 45 mins.

To learn more, listen to Betita's presentation at the US Social Forum 2007 (Atlanta, GA): Liberating Gender & Sexuality - Integrating Gender & Sexual Justice across Our Movements.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Honoring Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez--A Conversation with Cherrie Moraga







 In a matter of 4 days, we lost two of our beloved movement leaders, transnational feminists, Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez on June 29 and Native Hawai'ian activist scholar Haunani-Kay Trask on July 3. Each in her own historical context, her own ways, and in respective settings, were forces to be reckoned with. They taught, fought, listened, lectured, organized, conspired—that is, they breathed and worked with others—to help create worlds they envisioned. May they both rest in power and love.

Just google Betita to read obituaries in major news sources in the US and, elsewhere. You can also read testimonies from former students, friends, comrades in the struggle.  For example, check out Organizing Upgrade below. M
ovement leader Cindy Wiesner described Betita in an conversation I had with her earlier today: “Betita was courageous, audacious, stuck to her guns, was never afraid to be the first, all the while dressed to the nines in her gold lame, white boots, red lipstick.” Betita had flare!

To listen click here 59mins.

 Cherríe Moraga is the internationally acclaimed Chicana writer, feminist activist, poet, essayist, and director-playwright. She is on the faculty at UC Santa Barbara in the Department of English. Cherríe is also a founding member of the social justice activist group La Red Chicana Indígena which is an organization of Chicanas fighting for education, culture rights, and Indigenous Rights.


Organizing Upgrade 

Voices from the Movement

Diversity Lecture Series Evergreen State College 2006

500 Years of Chicana Women's History

De Colores Means Means All of Us Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century

Monday, June 28, 2021

International Perspectives on Gender, Stress, and COVID19 Syndemic

Host: Margo Okazawa-Rey


The COVID pandemic has been stressful for all, but significantly more so for women, worldwide. Global pandemic studies show women are feeling more pressure than men, at work and home. They are feeling more exhausted, burned out, and under pressure than men. Loss of income and greater demands on time, paired with limited opportunities for support and self-care. Disruptions to day-care centers, schools, and after-school programs have been hard on all working parents, but more so on working mothers have taken on more of the resulting childcare responsibilities, and homeschooling. Please multiply this thousand times and more for poor and working-class women of color and white women; immigrant women; undocumented women; women living in already stressful and abusive situations. Imagine women living under occupation such as in Palestine. In short, women across the spectrum of class, race, and geography are facing untold physical, psychological, financial, and spiritual impacts.


To listen 58 mins.

Some Statistics

Black women are 3x more likely than non-Black women to report the death of a loved one in recent months. However, 27% of women reported an increase in challenges associated with mental illness, compared to only 10% of men. In addition, women (35%) report depression more so than men (19%). Women aged 18-24 were the hardest hit reporting great suicidal ideation than men (38% and 17% respectively) (CARE, 2021).Domestic violence has increased by 8.1% in the US and globally by 7.8% (Council on Criminal Justice, 2021).Gender-based violence and exploitation are often accompanied by financial dependence and limited education. In addition, social isolation from friends and neighbors that often notice, and report abuse is less likely, so statistics are likely underestimated. Across the world, women’s domestic work burden has exploded, in addition regardless of the country’s economic size women have lost income and unpaid care. Women from lower socioeconomic groups or marginalized have higher transmission and fatality rates and experience greater violence. Women represent 70% (UN, 2021) of healthcare workers and earn 28% less than men. In other industries, the gap is 16%. Women’s progress in the workplace has been derailed by COVID, particularly for working mothers, women in senior management positions, and Black women (Mckinsey, 2021). Women more likely to work in industries, hardest hit by COVID - such as the service and hospitality sector, and informal jobs such as domestic help, where no work = no pay. Impact of COVID likely multi-generational – estimates that 11 million girls have left school (UNESCO, 2021). Nearly half of all working women (46%) work in jobs paying low wages (Latina, 64%; Black, 54%; White 40%).


Policy Recommendations

1.Direct income support to women

2.Support for women-owned and -led businesses 

3.Support for women workers 

4.Support for informal workers 

5.Reconciliation of paid and unpaid work



Dr. Maheen Mausoof Adamson is a Stanford University Neuroscientist & Global COVID expert; a mother of 2; a Pakistani Muslim immigrant.

The Disproportionate Impact Of Covid-19 On Women

COVID-19 and its economic toll on women: The story behind the numbers

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Globalist, Socialist, Feminist Understandings of the Occupation of Palestine Part 1


According to the report released by Human Rights Watch on 27 April 2021, “Abusive Israeli Policies Constitute Crimes of Apartheid, Persecution”-- all crimes against humanity. Today’s is the first of a special  two-part conversation about Occupied Palestine in which  Sumaya Awad will give listeners the big, socialist picture of the what’s happening today as Palestinian people are facing daily, active horrors of being an occupied people. Happenindg during the holy days of Ramadan and Eid al Fitr and the 73rd Commemoration of Nakba (Catastrophe).


Sumaya Awad is a Palestinian socialist writer and organizer based in New York City. Her writings focus on Palestinian liberation, anti-imperialism, Islamophobia, and immigration. Sumaya is the co-editor of Palestine: A Socialist Introduction (2020) published by Haymarket Books. She is currently Director of Strategy at the Adalah Justice Project and is a member of the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. 


To listen  45 mins.


Useful references include

Global Day of Action 


B'Tselem for data and useful information

Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling

Monday, May 3, 2021

Detaining “Unaccompanied” Migrant Children in Detention Centers in California??


                                                                           Photo courtesy of Francisco (Pancho) Arguelles


Today, the topic is the incarceration of migrant children in California detention centers, a horrifying direction for our state. Unaccompanied children are held in detention centers on both sides of the US – Mexico border. According to CNN, on the Mexico side, as of April 1, 5,300 are being held in Border Patrol facilities. More than 1,360 of these children have been detained beyond the legal limit of 72 hours.  On the US side, 13,000 are being held in shelters under the jurisdiction of the Dept of Health and Human Services in locations around the country.  One of them, San Diego Convention Center, is currently at full capacity, housing 1,450 13- to 17-year-old girls.

How did the US reach this point of detaining thousands of migrant children? Gaby Hernandez says, “People say we have a broken immigration system. We don’t. We have a system that works in the way it was designed to work.” 

Gaby Hernandez (she/her) serves as the Executive Director for the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition. Gaby was born and lived in Mexico City until she was twelve years old and moved to Oceanside, CA where she grew up before moving to Long Beach five years ago. Her life experiences as an undocumented woman have fueled her passion and commitment for social justice and immigrant rights. She’s an abolitionist who believes in the importance of people power and grassroots organizing in order to make real systemic change. Gaby has a dog named Fuego who she adores.

Maricela Gutierrez,  Executive Director of SIREN, has extensive training in grassroots organizing and racial equity strategies for engaging disenfranchised communities. She is a founding member of  Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth and Families Collaborative and the Soñadores Invencibles Program that work to develop safety net systems for children and families seeking asylum. 

Rev. Deborah Lee, Executive Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, has worked at the intersection of faith and social justice for over 25 years in popular education, community organizing  and advocacy connecting issues of race, gender, economic justice, anti-militarism, LGBTQ inclusion, and immigrant rights.  She has consistently sought to strengthen the voice and role of faith communities in today’s social movements. Her work has been recognized as  innovative and impactful with awards from the United Nation’s Association of the East Bay, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, and the national United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministry.

To listen, click here 58 mins

To get involved