From LySaundra Campbell <[email protected]>
Subject “It is our duty to fight for our freedom”
Date September 15, 2021 3:23 PM
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Fighting for gender justice in the courts, in public policy, and in our society.
Justice for her. Justice for all.

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Hey John,

I thought about how to write this month’s newsletter and eloquently convey the many emotions and ideas running rampant throughout our movement— like the abortion ban in Texas [[link removed]] , to name just one. And yet, nothing much comes to mind beyond “this is some sh*t.”

But, during a recent conversation, I was reminded of Assata Shakur’s poem, words I have recited at protests.

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.
—Assata Shakur ( Assata: An Autobiography )

And though Assata’s words are a challenge to a broader system, I have been thinking about how the Law Center continues to use our platform and unique gifts to take Assata’s call into consideration and action. We cannot afford to give up or move forward with the same methods we’ve always used. And yet, we cannot allow moments of momentary defeat to cast a shadow over clear wins that, at times, took months or years to accomplish. If Marvel can imagine infinite universes, we can imagine and create a more justice-centered, fair universe right here. Are you with me?

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

DYK: Women are still catching up to what white men were paid last year? I know what you’re thinking: Wait, another equal pay day?! Yep, more than halfway through 2021, we just marked Native Women’s Equal Pay Day on September 8 (And I will be ranting about Latina Women’s Equal Pay Day next month, so buckle up friends!). Native women are typically paid only 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men, meaning they had to work 20 months to catch up to what white men were paid last year alone.

But this wage gap reflects Native women overall. Depending on their tribe, many Native women may face a gap larger than the overall 60 cents. And before the COVID-19 pandemic, Native mothers typically made 50 cents for every dollar paid to white fathers even though most—about three in four—were breadwinners for their families.

Learn more about Native Women’s Equal Pay [[link removed]] , watch our TikTok [[link removed]] , and tell President Biden [[link removed]] to take the lead on equal pay.

It is our duty to win.

We recently celebrated a court ruling [[link removed]] in our lawsuit that vacated part of Betsy DeVos’ harmful Title IX rule. In July, a federal judge vacated a provision that weakened civil rights protections against sexual harassment in schools. As a result of the judge’s decision in our lawsuit, parties and witnesses are no longer cross-examined for the school to consider their statements as evidence. For example, statements made in a text message, email, Title IX complaint, police report, medical records, or other documents are now part of the evidence in a Title IX investigation, even if the person who said or wrote them is not cross-examined.

“This rule was designed to discriminate against student survivors, plain and simple. We are proud to have fought back against DeVos and the Trump administration, side by side with brave students and allies.” (Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO at NWLC)

The Department of Education must still undo the DeVos Title IX rule, and should do so sooner than May 2022, which is the date it indicated the department would issue a proposed new rule. Considering that the previous Title IX rule was proposed in August 2018, finalized in May 2020, and did not take effect until August 2020—21 months later—it could be years before the DeVos Title IX rule is finally undone under the Department’s current plan. Students cannot, and should not, wait that long until a new rule takes effect. Learn more [[link removed]] about how you can urge the Department of Education to move faster in ensuring that the Title IX rule supports student survivors.

We must love each other and support each other.

Some things that are bringing me joy these days include a biking group I recently joined, my colleagues’ creativity, Marvel’s new “What If…” series (zombies, tho?!), and Aaliyah’s music on streaming services. And while some folks are disappointed by subpar albums from male rappers who will not be named, let me tell you: Chloe Bailey [[link removed]] and Ari Lennox [[link removed]] never miss an assignment! Also, Britney Spears is engaged. None of these things may seem explicitly justice-centered, but all of them point to imagination, freedom, and what I could be spending my time doing if (and when) injustices are no longer an issue. We can dream, right?

Oh, and it’s my birthday month aka my self-proclaimed beginning of Autumn, so I’m curating more playlists [[link removed]] for the rainy days I not-so-secretly enjoy.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.

At the Law Center, we are driving change in the courts, public policy, and society. That’s our role, that is our lane, and we are giving all we’ve got. Now is not the time to back down—we must be creative, and we must be tenacious.

Considering the following questions for yourself:
🖤 How are you choosing to fight for your community?
🖤 How are you choosing to win?
🖤 How are you choosing to love and support others?
🖤 What chains will you eventually lose?

For justice (and joy) for her and all,

LySaundra Campbell
Writer and Editor
National Women’s Law Center
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