Welcome to 2014! At the top of every new year, we naturally find ourselves plotting and planning about what we want to accomplish, change and manifest in the next 365 days. But personal growth and evolution is an ongoing process, not just something we do for a month and forget about. We Move Forward, a 3-day conference in beautiful Isla Mujeres, Mexico that’s dedicated to helping women live with passion and purpose. I attended in 2013 to support with social media and it was a game changer for me. I learned that we can make changes and follow dreams at any age, and became inspired to be my best self. Self-care is one of the most important and most difficult things for us busy women. We are used to taking care of others, or chasing achievements, while neglecting our basic human needs. We Move Forward is a time and space for women to take a break from the busyness and get back in touch with what makes us shine. Sometimes we need to rejuvenate and that’s ok! Join us on International Women’s Day, March 7-9, for inspirational conversations, healing body movement, and relaxation on the Island of Women. Take advantage of discounted registration if you sign up before January 31 and say yes to yourself and your dreams!
Did you know that as many as 48% of domestic violence survivors stay in abusive situations because they don’t want to leave their pets? Our pets often truly are our family members. Swirl PR has been working with URI, Mission and Message Communications and Group Gordon on the social media launch of the URIPals (People and Animals Living Safely), New York City’s first shelter to house families and pets together. It is one of few similar programs nationwide and is a pilot in conjunction with the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals. Purina, in its commitment to people and pets, found the PALS program via social media and wanted to lend its support. They generously donated cat welcome kits for the animals and educational materials for the families. United by the belief that people and pets are better together, URI and Purina hope to raise awareness about the impact of abuse on the entire family—including pets—and reduce barriers to escape and recovery.
I was a tween girl when the Salt-N-Pepa song, “Let’s Talk About Sex,” was a mega hit. However, 20 years later women are still encouraged to be secretive and silent about our sexual experiences and our sexuality. Filmmaker Melissa Tapper Goldman created “Subjectified,” featuring real talk from nine young women about sex. She interviews a diverse group of women to elevate the voices and stories of real women to counteract shameful negative imagery that is so rampant in much of our media. The film spawned an amazing Tumblr project, Do Tell, encouraging women to submit their own stories. Check out the coverage from Feministing, The Grio, and Parlour Magazine. When we speak up, we can eliminate stigma!
This summer, Swirl PR worked with the Foundation for Child Development with the release of the first study ever to connect race and immigration status to child well-being in the United States. While the report highlighted troubling news for Black and Latino children who were in the bottom of nearly all health and education indicators, particularly U.S. born and immigrant children respectively, the overall picture demonstrated a strong need for education reform to benefit all of our children. Think Progress provided some thoughtful coverage of the report and what it specifically means for Latino immigrant children’s health and education.
This Mother’s Day Swirl PR teamed up with MPact PR to help the Strong Families Coalition spread the word to media about their “Mama’s Day, Our Way” campaign. Nowadays families are more diverse than a mom, dad and two children. However the Mother’s Day cards don’t reflect the variety of families and motherhood such as single moms, immigrant moms, queer moms, and incarcerated moms,. Thus Strong Families enlisted incredible artists from around the country to create free e-cards that represent families that are left out of the greeting card aisles. We received some incredible coverage via Salon, Buzzfeed, Jezebel and PolicyMic.
They are continuing this conversation for Papa’s Day with awesome free e-cards. Send one to a Papa in your life today!
Congrats are in order for St. Mary’s Center, a nursing home in Harlem for people living with HIV/AIDS, on being honored as one of the “Best Nursing Homes” by U.S. News and World Report. The “Best Nursing Homes” 2013 ratings highlight the top nursing homes in each city and state, out of nearly 16,000 facilities nationwide. Upon learning about this, St. Mary’s Center CEO, Holly Argent Tariq, declared: “We are proud to have this recognition and will strive to continue to serve Harlem and the communities most affected with HIV/AIDS.”
For more information about St. Mary’s Center and their programs, feel free to call the skilled nursing facility at 212-662-1826 or the adult day health care program at 212-665-5992.
Planned Parenthood recently announced that they are moving away from “pro-choice” language because it doesn’t reflect the complexities of women’s reproductive decision making. My latest piece for RH Reality Check, “After Pro-Choice: What’s Next For Our Messaging?,” was inspired by mainstream media coverage of this issue which coincided with the 40th Anniversary of Roe. v. Wade. I spoke with some leading reproductive justice advocates and activists about how what this means for our movement and how we can better integrate reproductive justice frameworks into media messaging and the way we speak about reproductive health and rights in our communities. The segment from “Now With Alex” on MSNBC exemplifies many of the challenges and opportunities for success.
We have heard lots in the news about the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” or health care reform but what does it mean when it’s time for us to go to the doctor? Did you know that there are benefits you can access NOW? Since much of the conversation can be confusing, I worked with Raising Women’s Voices to host a tweetchat about the benefits of the new health care law (the Affordable Care Act) that are available now to women currently with insurance, and what is coming up for all women in 2014. We had important information about well-woman exams, breastfeeding support, the elimination of “pre-existing conditions,” and were grateful to have the official Health and Human Services Women’s Health Twitter account, join the discussion. Raising Women’s Voices has compiled some excellent, easy-to-read and understand resources and if you missed our tweetchat, follow the story here!
Leading up to this year’s Election Day, Swirl PR worked with a project called Hoodie Vote, a grassroots movement to get people to the polls this Election Day in their hoodies. This was not to disrespect Martin’s memory and his horrific murder. Instead, it is to harness the energy that united us after Martin’s murder and to put it towards voting so we can make help create the communities we want and deserve by denouncing destructive policies.
While there was some pushback from people who thought it was “gimmicky,” there was a lot of momentum and love from young people, student organizers, celebrities, activists and media. We had Questlove involved and endorsements from Dick Gregory, Jesse Jackson, Russell Simmons, Amanda Seales, Jasiri-X, Ian Huckabee (one of the creators of “Glee”) among others. It was a movement that grew organically through teamwork. Check out our coverage on the Grio, Parlour Magazine and the Nation.
St. Mary’s Center, an HIV/AIDS skilled nursing facility (SNF) and adult day health care (ADHC) program celebrated their 20th anniversary on October 15, 2012 at Billie’s Black in Harlem. For 20 years they have remained Harlem’s only nursing home for people living with AIDS and are a cornerstone in the community. St. Mary’s longevity can be attributed to their quality medical and social services, along with the individualized care and attention that clients and residents receive. Many clients and residents have been at St. Mary’s for many years and consider it their home because of the peer support and warm environment. Cuts in New York state Medicaid have presented challenges, however they continue to provide a high level of care that the community depends on. To learn more about St. Mary’s and to donate, visit stmarysharlem.com.