Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

For updates on Stowe Center programs and events, sign up for our enews at http://harrietbeecherstowe.org/email.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Video clip from The Connecticut Forum's "An Honest Look at Mental Health"

On March 7, 2014, our friends at The Connecticut Forum presented "An Honest Look at Mental Illness," featuring Andrew Solomon (Author & Journalist Extraordinaire, Psychologist & Mental Health Advocate), Dr. Hank Schwartz (Nationally Regarded Expert, Chief of Psychiatry at the Institute of Living) and Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison (Foremost authority on bipolar disorder, author of An Unquiet Mind). Below is a clip of Andrew Solomon's comments on violence and mental illness, which connect with the discussion from our May 2013 Salon on "Mental Health."

What are your reactions to Andrew Solomon's comments? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"A First Step To Combat Collegiate Sexual Assaults"

Earlier this month, we hosted "Campus in Crisis: Speaking Out to End the Violence," a Salon about rape on college campuses. The same day as our Salon, a State of Connecticut legislative committee discussed and approved a bill to improve school responses to and policies around rape. Salon attendee and friend of the Stowe Center Susan Campbell wrote an article about the bill this past Tuesday for Connecticut Health I-Team. Read her article, "First Step to Combat Collegiate Sexual Assaults," to learn more about the bill.

You can also read Connecticut Sexual Assault and Crisis Services' (CONNSACS) 2012 Campus Report Card below.

What are your reactions the 2012 Campus Report Card? Do you think the steps taken in the new bill are enough? Susan used her voice and her words to raise awareness around this issue - what will you do? Share your responses below. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Screening of "Brave Miss World" at Trinity College TONIGHT

Stowe Center educational programs inspire students!

As our Director of Education and Visitor Services Shannon Burke mentioned at a joint program with the Old State House on Tuesday, "The Stowe Center's [education programming] encourages students to identify "What is the issue YOU care about? What would you like to change?"

It is often difficult to measure the lasting impact of Stowe Center programs on students, but every so often we find a great example. They say say "a picture is worth 1,000 words"...so a picture of words must be worth 1,000x that! Below is Maura Hallisey, a Stowe Center Museum Educator, who has been running a multi-week after school program with 5th grade students at Batchelder School in Hartford. She is holding a list of social justice issues and "Ideas" brainstormed by the students in her class. These are the issues the students would like to explore further in their final six-week session of after school programs this spring. They will choose an issue and create public service announcements, write letters to local officials requesting support, and present to teachers and staff...all in an effort to create positive change in their schools and communities. The Stowe Center is proud to partner with Organized Parents Make A Difference (OPMAD) to deliver this after school program, funded by Lincoln Financial Foundation and Charles Nelson Robinson Fund.

Want to learn more about our educational programming and how you can bring students to the Stowe Center or bring Museum Educators to your clasroom? Visit the school programs page on our website and check out our School Program Brochure

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Activism of Isabella Beecher Hooker TODAY at 12:00pm at the Old State House

Join Connecticut's Old State House and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center for "The Activism of Isabella Beecher Hooker" with Pulitzer-Prize winning author Susan Campbell. Following her talk, Susan will participate in a discussion on the impact and legacy of Isabella's work with Stowe Center Director of Education Shannon Burke and Teresa Younger, Executive Director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.

The Activism of Isabella Beecher Hooker
w/ Pulitzer Prize winning author Susan Campbell
Date: Tuesday, March 25, 12:00 pm
Pulitzer Prize winning author Susan
Susan Campbell
Photo by Chion Wolf/WNPR
Campbell joins us for our next installment of Conversations at Connecticut's Old State House. She will be discussing her new biography, Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker, which focuses on the "other" Beecher who bravely paved the way for women's rights in the U.S.

Harriet Beecher Stowe's younger half-sister, Isabella Beecher Hooker, helped organize the National Woman Suffrage Association and fought for the passage of an 1877 Connecticut law that gave married women the same property rights as their husbands.

Following Ms. Campbell's talk, join in a discussion about Isabella Beecher Hooker's impact and the status of women's rights today with CT-N's Diane Smith, Shannon Burke, Director of Education of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, and Teresa Younger, Executive Director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.
This event is co-sponsored with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. The event starts at noon and will last one hour. Bring your lunch and enjoy the program! Registrations for this free program are encouraged but not required. Register here.

CTHumanities Logo - visit www.cthumanities.org for more information 
Funding provided by Connecticut Humanities
Bring your parking ticket from Constitution Plaza Garage or State House Square Garage for validated $5 parking. Go to the website or call 860-522-6766 to learn more.

Connecticut's Old State House
800 Main St. 
Hartford, CT 06103
860-522-6766 www.ctoldstatehouse.org 
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March 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trad


2014 Theme: “Victory over Slavery: Haiti and Beyond”
Poster created for the 2014 observance
Click on the poster to download it.
For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history.
Every year on 25 March, the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. The International Day also aims at raising awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.
In order to more permanently honour the victims, a memorial will be erected at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The winning design for the memorial, The Ark of Return Video by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent, was selected through an international competition and announced in September 2013.

2014 Commemoration

This year’s theme, “Victory over Slavery: Haiti and Beyond” pays tribute to the fight against slavery in nations around the world. Haiti was the first nation to become independent as a result of the struggle of enslaved men and women led by Toussaint Louverture. 2014 marks 210 years since the Republic of Haiti was established on January 1, 1804.
2014 also marks the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, launched in Ouidah, Benin, in 1994, which decided to break the silence surrounding the slave trade and slavery. The project has produced multimedia educational materials, available for educators, pupils, and the general public.

Programme of activities

In 2014, in addition to the formal annual observance of the International Day, during the week of 25 March, a series of worldwide commemorative activities are planned throughout the year. Events include solemn ceremonies, a film festival, cultural events, debates and exhibitions. The programme is subject to updates.
Follow the link for a detailed view of eventsPDF document at UN Headquarters in New York.

For more information

Follow us on Twitter @rememberslavery and join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/rememberslavery
Contact: Laurence Gerard, Department of Public Information

Monday, March 24, 2014

Connections between human trafficking and poverty

Last month, Mexican national Joaquin Mendez-Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison for operating a sex trafficking ring between Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. He was also fined $705,000 in restitution for the women who worked as his personal prostitutes. While many may feel that his sentence and fine do not begin to make up for his horrendous crime, defense attorney Jonathan Hunt pleaded for a lighter sentence, arguing that "Many of the decisions made were influenced by this poverty and the need to survive."

Read more in the Huffington Post's "Joaquin Mendez-Hernandez, Accused Pimp, Gets Life In Sex Trafficking Case." How do you react to the claims that the sex ring was connected to "poverty and the need to survive"? 

Friday, March 21, 2014

March 22: National Education and Sharing Day

First inaugurated by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, "National Education and Sharing Day is a day that was made by the United States Congress in honor of  Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902 – 1994).  It honors his efforts for education and sharing for Jews and non-Jews alike.  During his lifetime, the Rabbi opened many centers of education."

President Barack Obama has continued this long-time tradition of National Education and Sharing Day, and in 2009 stated in his proclamation:

 “We also know that learning does not stop when students leave the classroom. Whether at the dinner table or on the field, it is our task as parents, teachers, and mentors to make sure our children grow up practicing the values we preach. We have an obligation to instill in them the virtues that define our national character — honesty and independence, drive and discipline, courage and compassion.” 

President Obama's message is particularly important in remembering museums as institutions of both culture and education. At the Stowe Center, we seek to educate visitors on Stowe's life and impact, and the ability each of us has to - like Stowe - create positive change in our world. In honor of National Education and Sharing Day, we hope you will explore our public programs at www.HarrietBeecherStowe.org, and our educational programming for kids which instill those above-mentioned values of honesty and independence, drive and discipline, courage and compassion

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Join us for the Marathon Reading of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"

 The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is pleased to present its third Marathon Reading of Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe’s book changed how Americans viewed slavery, galvanized the abolition movement, and contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War.
The Reading will begin Wednesday, March 19 at 12:00pm and end on Thursday, March 20 at 10:00am. This third reading marks the 162nd anniversary of the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Can't make it to the Stowe Center for the Marathon Reading? Watch the live stream of the entire event at www.HarrietBeecherStowe.org. Don't miss your chance to read the words that changed the world and make history yourself! Tune in or join us in the Katharine Seymour Day House at the Stowe Center to read along.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Resources on Women's History Month

March is National Women's History Month, and the Library of Congress has launched a website honoring the many women who have shaped this country. We encourage you to visit womenshistorymonth.gov to learn more and explore the many resources available!

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.

Suffrage March on Washington      National Women Suffrage Parade      The Women of Four Wars      For Teachers Image

At the Stowe Center, we share the stories of many 19th century female activists, abolitionists and reformers who were instrumental in the building of the nation we know today; particularly Harriet Beecher Stowe (ok, we're a little biased). Who do you salute this National Women's History Month? Share the names of influential and important women in the comments section below!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Event Recap: "Campus in Crisis: Speaking Out to End the Violence" (3.13.14 Salon)

Salons at Stowe
Campus in Crisis: Speaking Out to End the Violence
March 13, 2014

The Salon focused on identifying solutions to combat sexual violence on campus and inspiring individuals to take action.

Sexual violence is common on college campuses. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, The Justice Department and the National Institute of Justice:

  • More than 25% of all women who report rapes are between 18-24 
  • Over a college career, completed or attempted campus rapes may be as high as 20-25% of female students
  • Of college women --less than 5% report their completed or attempted rapes-- for the general population it’s 40%
  • In over 80% of cases, victim and assailant know each other.

Mary DeLucia, Sexual Assault Crisis Center, YWCA, New Britain, CT
Mary DeLucia is YWCA New Britain’s Campus Advocate for Sexual Assault Crisis Service (SACS), one of 4 Campus Advocates in CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services 9 member programs. Mary provides sexual assault awareness and prevention programs to 14 college campuses in the area. Her main role is support and empowerment to college students and faculty affected by sexual assault .

Mary has a BA in Sociology. She is certified by SACS where she began as a volunteer. She worked at a CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services sister agency in Litchfield county for 3 years.

Claire Capozzi, Student Advocate, Women for Change, University of Hartford, Women for Change
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/111483368866824/
Twitter:  @women_forchange
Claire Capozzi is a senior at the University of Hartford where she is co-president of Women for Change, a feminist-based organization. She’s graduating with psychology and university honors and will likely attend the University of Hartford’s doctoral program in clinical psychology.
She’s a sexual assault crisis counselor and intern at the Sexual Assault Crisis Service and also works with the Women’s Education and Leadership Fund. She recently presented her work at the Association for Women in Psychology.
In addition to writing her thesis, she’s writing a novel centered around sexual abuse.

Mary DeLucia
Is a Campus Advocate for Sexual Assault Crisis Center, active on 9 college campuses in Hartford and Tolland Counties, runs a sexual assault crisis hotline for those effected by assault or those who know someone effected by assault. Anyone can call and speak with a certified sexual assault crisis counselor; she and others are counselors. They are also advocates in hospitals, police stations and courts. Is running a 5K to End Violence on April 13 at CCSU to raise money and awareness. New program called “Where Do You Stand?” a one hour program that discusses rape culture and how someone can be an active rather than passive bystander.

As a Campus Advocate, she brings awareness of her organization’s services to campuses through staffing tables, presentations, and offering support to students. The focus is empowering those effected to be strong in life, graduate college and find success. After someone is sexually assaulted, the most influential person is the first person the victim confides in – that person’s reactions  sets the tone for how he/shee will feel about the situation. Is important to have this conversation and continue to discuss the issue until a solution is found.

Claire Capozzi                                                                                                                 
Interned with Mary DeLucia this year. Working on honors thesis about victim blaming in newspapers – language use and its impact on rape culture, public opinions, etc. When articles put the blame on victims, readers start believing what they read in the news.

At Steubenville High School, a 16 year old was gang-raped multiple parties by at least 2 men – she was dragged from party to party, assaulter recorded the rapes and posted them online. Anonymous hackers got into the the school’s website and threatened that if the assaulters did not come forward, they  would release the names, Social Security numbers and more of the assaulters – the rapists got 1 year in juvenile detention and have been released, the hacker was sentenced to 10 years in prison. When the trials were covered, the news anchors (CNN female anchors) talked about the assaulters crying in the courtroom and the sadness that they had ruined their lives and had to spend time in prison – not that the girl was raped. The news treated it as a small case like a speeding ticket. The conversation around rape stories needs to be refocused onto the victim, not the perpetrator.

Audience member: Publicshaming.tumblr.com attacked those who claimed the Steubenville student was at fault because she was drunk when raped.

Audience member: In your research, have you felt that women are held to a higher standard than men?

  • Claire: Yes.  As a kid, girls are warned to “watch their drinks,” “travel with someone,” “don't go out at night,” etc., but men are never told to be safe – colleges seem to look at women as a liability; they tell them to make sure nothing happens to them to ensure they are not held at fault. 
  • Audience comment: In teaching women when they are growing up, men hear those same warnings, but women are accused when assaulted because they “must have done something wrong,” and didn’t follow the lessons taught.

Audience member: There are students at Swarthmore are suing the college for not enforcing the drinking age. Every woman who is raped should sue the college.

  • Claire: Suing the school might discourage woman from reporting rapes because they are afraid of getting in trouble. 
  • Audience member: Bars, sororities and fraternities should be held accountable. 
  • Katherine: If colleges enforced the drinking age, would that solve the problem?
  • Audience member: No, it might decrease the problem but its not a major solution. If anything, it might cause more trouble – once something is made illegal, the desire to do it is amplified.
  • Mary: 80% of sexual assaults are done where the victim knows their perpetrator. If you trust someone and they slip it in your drink, that is out of your control. 
  • Audience comment: Making underage drinking the cause of the problem shifts the blame and focus away from the rapist. Discourse is important and people need to understand consent – many men (and women) do not understand consent; many women internalize misogyny. More conversations around rape and consent and misogyny are needed, and men need to be involved. 

Audience comment: Received a complaint from a student on campus about a fraternity brother in the gym wearing a shirt: “We put a man on the moon, and we’ll put a man in your girlfriend.” As a teacher and faculty member, she struggled with where to take a complaint about a student wearing a shirt that makes students feel uncomfortable, but is freedom of speech.

  • Claire: There was a case at Yale where a student wore a shirt that said “Yes means yes; no means anal.” 
  • Audience comment: Needs to be discourse and action 

Audience comment: Is Director of Public Policy & Communication at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services. From a policy perspective, there is work being done and actions are being taken in Connecticut. Campus Save Act was propose in 2012 – every instate of higher education was required to pass policies around sexual assault and intimate partner violence – explained a survivor’s rights and ways they could take action. After the situation at UCONN, today the legislature unanimously passed a bill to expand Campus Save Act to include stalking and expand policy to staff/employees. It also says that it doesn’t matter where an assault occurs, you can still go through disciplinary proceedings; though from a reporting standpoint, off-campus assaults cannot be reported in the same way (is a problem that needs to be solved). Every campus must also have a Campus Response Team and a relationship with a support center. CT College Consortium Against Assault has hosted discussions around assault, however only proponents attended, not those guilty of assaulting others. Men still have conversations like “I’d do her” or “How many drinks would it take…?” and when no one in a group speaks up, any rapist in the room is empowered.

  • Audience comment: To what extent can parents be held accountable for young men under 21 who assault women. She rents space in her house to young people, and when she does she makes the parents sign and holds the parents accountable. Rape culture starts with parents not holding young men accountable to what is happening and the cultural messaging around us. 
  • Audience comment: Something commonly heard is that “Consent isn’t sexy” and men often joke about what “consent” means; consent should be clear, understood and respected. 
  • Mary: Having a sexual partner ask you if you consent, what your boundaries are, what you are willing to do, shows how much the other person respects you.  
  • Audience comment: Is now a movement called “Consent is sexy” – is awful that we need to sexualize consent to make it appealing. Why do we need underwear that says “Consent is sexy”
  • Claire: Cringes when she hears about the campaign – is not sexy, why should you have to stroke someone’s ego to prove they are not “ok with it”? 
  • Audience comment: The conversation about consent is distracting to men who are not rapists because rape itself is not discussed – they do not realize that even non-consensual “hook ups” at college parties (for example) are considered rape. 
  • Audience comment: There is also a sense that “rapists are crazy,” which also distracts; her father often says “rapists are crazy,” but is worried that she will be raped in the “rape lot” or on the “rape trail” at school. 

Audience comment: What is the profile of a “rapist”? What is the recidivism (check) rate?

  • Claire: The average rapists rapes 6 times. There is the power rapist, sadistic rapist, and anger rapist. But there is no cut and dry profile to a rapist. 
  • Audience comment: How is the statistic of “average rapist rapes 6 times” known? 
  • Claire: Rapists will admit that they raped if the word “rape” is not used. 

Audience comment: As a student at Trinity College, thinks it is important to emphasize that there is no profile of a rapist, there is no typical rape; most college students are not looking to rape someone, they do not realize that what they are doing is rape. The most important solution is awareness, like walking up to a guy with an inappropriate shirt and telling him why the shirt is not appropriate.

  • Mary: So much time is spent asking survivors “Are you sure you said no? How loud did you say it? How many times did you say it?” Instead, need to ask the perpetrator “Are you sure she consented?” “How do you know?” 

Audience comment: When was a kid, “rape” was considered to be violent, but it sounds like today, on campuses, because it is someone who is known, a friend, someone who does not get consent, and a slippery slope, sounds different.

  • Claire: Have to remember that even if a survivor doesn’t have any bruises, isn’t “cut enough,” has no physical trauma, all rape is violent. Because a common misconception is that all rape is physically violent, when a rape kit comes back saying there was no physical damage people say “she was not raped” which is not true. 
  • Audience comment: Power and control were discussed when she first graduated college, felt like she could not use the word “Sex” when describing sexual assault (could only talk about power and control”); now coming back into the movement. Dr. David Lisak has done research on campuses – when he interviewed men who were rapists, found they thought it was ”normal” to rape a woman passed out, or that it was ok because “she was not a virgin.” Men in college think they will just regret it in the morning, which makes it ok. 
  • Mary: Is a common myth that women are raped in dark allies by a stranger; the truth is that 80% of women know their perpetrator. 

Katherine: Would like us to focus on solutions – what do we do? How do we act?

  • Audience comment: Exposure is important. At two different colleges, heads of college fraternities sent out directions about how to rape women (not using the word “rape”) – providing instructions on how to get women drunk, seduce them, how to keep “score”, etc. – opened her eyes as to how disturbing such conversations are that are part of this “Rape culture” 
  • Audience comment: People can get away with saying “oh, she was drunk” because rape is considered violent, but the emergence of “date rape” raises awareness on the nonviolent rape; make sure people are educated about the definitions of rape, date rape, assault 
  • Audience comment: Respect must be taught an an earlier age by not only parents by public educators – many parents do not want to talk about such issues. Need to get education systems to make discussions around the issues, in the classroom, acceptable and expected. 
  • Audience comment: Conversations around the threats of rape should be covered at college orientation. 
  • Audience comment: As a freshman student in Hartford, had to take mandatory classes when arriving at college about rape, violence, threats, etc. They helped but more could be done. 
  • Audience comment: Such courses should be required every year, split the genders during courses to avoid men not taking the course seriously. 
  • Audience comment: Men do not always take the idea of rape seriously. His literary organization/co-ed fraternity lead a workshop on Monday to make sure all guests and visitors feel safe, happy, and that members are aware of the risk of rape (as an organization that holds parties) – being proactive and helping guests. Fraternities and sororities should be proactive and educate their members on not supporting rape and creating a safe environment. 

Audience comment: The conversation has been about what happens on college campuses, but the problem starts during childhood. Even when we are tickling children and they tell us to stop but we don’t, or force kids to hug people they do not want to show affection towards, we invalidate children’s “Nos.” Even kids have boundaries that should be respected.

Audience comment: It is interesting that we start at consent because it says you “have to ask” as if women wouldn’t want it, but then when they “do want it” we see them as “whores.”

Audience comment: How is the “hookup culture” not “whoring”? It is no longer about intimacy and is meaningless.

  • Claire: “Hookup culture” is not necessarily a problem because that is about choice – is more about “rape culture.” 
  • Audience comment: Is a “rape myth” that some women “deserve” to be raped. 
  • Audience comment: Hates commercials because objectifications are awful. In the Axe and Old Spice commercials, is this undertone that men because men and women because girlfriends – if we portray women to be as such in the media, when boys grow up, why should they feel women are humans when they are not portrayed as such. The idea of objectification and women as passive is instilled from a young age through the media, even before we understand what sex is. 
  • Audience comment: In sec and gender class, was watching “Tough Guise” and teacher was saying that a solution to rape culture would be making documentaries or shows about these issues more accessible – you can find Family Guy (ridden with rape jokes) easily, but the documentary about rape culture costs $100. 

Audience comment: Is one of 5 kids and has 4 younger brothers – as the only sister, tries to educate her brothers on rape culture and consent. When you tell men to think of women as their “sisters,” makes them give more respect to women.

Mary: “Rape” needs to be labeled – people see rape as something so small and insignificant, as well as ,frightening; need to use the word so people do not skirt around it and avoid the discomfort.

  • Audience comment: Cannot be euphemistic about it, need to say “rape is the problem” and make people sue the word. 

Audience comment: On campuses, are putting a lot of pressure on young people under the age of 21; parents, educators, police, and other adults need to come onto the campus to make raising awareness around rape a more seriously effort. The pressure shouldn’t be put exclusively on young women, and needs to be a community effort.

Claire: Should feel comfortable talking about rape and consent with your partner.

  • Mary: “If you can’t be talk about it you shouldn’t be having it” 

Katherine: This is a hot issue in the news – why were there not more people in attendance? Was it the right number?

  • Claire: Would have liked to see more. 
  • Audience comment: Is there coverage of the UCONN case? Coverage comes and goes. Can articles be shared on the blog? 
  • Audience comment: There are many blogs and articles. 
  • Audience comment: Jodi Foster was in a movie about gang rape that used to be shown at Trinity. The administration does not want to acknowledge the boundaries between a good party and an unsafe environment. Needs to be a book about “The Joys of Campus Sex.”
  • Audience comment: Small audience because it is an uncomfortable issue. People will comment on social media and listen to WNPR, but do not feel comfortable talking about the issue of rape in person, especially men.  
  • Mary: Talking to men who do not rape, they do not understand what rape is and do not think it effects them or they need to know; they incorporate what they learn about rape and consent into their own context. Goes back to that all rape is premeditated. 


  • Educate about consent
  • Work to eliminate rape culture – report offenses 
  • Learn about the Campus Save Act
  • Read and learn about the work of Dr. David Lisak
  • Teach respect – at home and in schools. Is not a gender problem, is everyone’s issue
  • Don’t invalidate childen’s “no’s” – teach them early on that “no means no” and that you will respect when they say no 
  • Use the world RAPE, don’t desensitize, cover up or work around it 
  • Parents and educators need to get involved – it takes a village to end rape culture
  • Train faculty and administration on public safety, how to respond to rape, what the laws are, how to report, how to react. 
  • Educate fraternities and sororities 
  • Explore the resources in the Salon takeaway (embedded below) 
  • Continue the discussion by posting a Comment below!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Want to learn more? Don't miss tonight's Salon, Crisis on Campus: Speaking Out to End the Violence from 5:30-7:00pm in the Stowe Visitor Center. Also visit WNPR to listen to this morning's episode of Where we Live with John Dankosky, Higher Learning, Higher Crime: A Look at Campus Assault and Violence.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Research unveils the true power of gay-straight alliances in schools

Study: High schools with gay-straight alliances have reduced risk of student suicideA recent study published in the International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, and funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, shows that "The presence of gay-straight alliance (GSA) groups in schools reduces the risk of suicide among both LGBTQ and straight teens." The report studied bullying towards both LGBTQ and straight students in grades 8-12 in British Columbia, Canada.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

In schools with gay-straight alliances implemented three or more years ago:

  • The odds of homophobic discrimination and suicidal thoughts were reduced by more than half among lesbian, gay, bisexual boys and girls compared to schools with no GSA.
  • There were also significantly lower odds of sexual orientation discrimination for heterosexual boys and girls.
  • Heterosexual boys were half as likely to attempt suicide as those in schools without GSAs.

In schools where anti-homophobic policies have been in place for more than three years:

  • The odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts for gay and bisexual boys were more than 70 per cent lower. Suicide attempts among lesbian and bisexual girls were two-thirds lower.
  • Heterosexual boys had 27 per cent lower odds of suicidal thoughts than heterosexual boys in schools without such policies.

For more about this study and the findings, we recommend reading Salon's "Study: High schools with gay-straight alliances have reduced risk of student suicide" and the University of British Columbia's "Gay-straight alliances in schools reduce suicide risk for all students." You can also read the report HERE or below.

Do your local schools have gay-straight alliances? Have you heard testaments to their success, whether it be a reduction in bullying or a greater acceptance of LGBTQ students? Share your comments below. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Will 12 Years a Slave help the fight against slavery?"

Over the past few months, Hollywood has been abuzz with critical acclaim for 12 Years a Slave (2013) which tells the harrowing story of Solomon Northup and his fight for freedom in the 1840's and 1850's. If you missed the Academy Awards last weekend, the Oscar for best film was awarded to 12 Years a Slave, and his acceptance speech (below) Director Steve McQueen commented:
"Right now, there are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here...21 million people. I just hope that 150 years from now, our ambivalence will not allow another filmmaker to make this film."

Like the Stowe Center does with all of its programs, McQueen made direct connections between the past and the present, proclaiming that the issue abolitionists and anti-slavery advocates (including Stowe) worked for 150 years ago persists; there is still work to be done. In a recent article, the British publication The Guardian asked "Will 12 Years a Slave help fight against slavery?" considering the roles of other films about slavery and their impact. In one particular paragraph, reporter Oliver Balch commented:
"And a film's impact doesn't have to end with its screening. Promoting audience discussion and debate after a film's screening is "absolutely critical" for films about slavery, says John Biaggi, director of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. It provides the opportunity for viewers to probe issues further and, ideally, to decide what actions they can take."

So do you think the success of movies like Taken and 12 Years a Slave raise awareness of modern day slavery and encourage the fight to end human trafficking and other forms of bondage? What action are you compelled to take? Share your comments below.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Crisis on Campus: Speaking Out to End the Violence on March 11, 2014

We are excited for our first Salons at Stowe of our winter/spring series, Crisis on Campus: Speaking Out to End the Violencethis Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 5-7 PM in the Stowe Center.

Join the conversation with featured guests Mary De Lucia (Sexual Assault Crisis Center, YWCA New Britain) and Claire Capozzi (Women for Change, University of Hartford).

Sexual violence is a common occurrence on college campuses. Consider:
    •    According to a 2008 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 25% of women who report rapes are between 18-24 years old
    •    A 2000 National Institute of Justice report indicates that over the course of a college career, the percentage of completed or attempted campus rapes may be as high as 20-25% of all female students
    •    The Justice Department estimates that fewer than 5% of completed or attempted rapes of college women are reported to law enforcement, far below the 40% rate for the general population
    •    National Institute of Justice reports that in 80-90% of cases victim and assailant know each other.

The Salon will focus on identifying solutions to combat sexual violence on campuses and inspiring individuals to take action.To learn more about this topic in preparation for the Salon, we recommend:

 The event is free and takes place in the Stowe Visitor Center. Following a brief presentation by Salon guests, the audience is invited to join the discussion. Reservations: Info@StoweCenter.org or 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

Friday, March 7, 2014

National Be Heard Day

Each year on the 7th day of March, National Be Heard Day is celebrated across the country. According to the National Day Calendar, it was created by Shannon Cherry (a business mentor) in 2006.

This day was created as a day to be dedicated to the over 145 million small businesses in the United States that are struggling to break through the big-business dominated times.  Now is the time for these small businesses to “be heard”.  There are many ways for this to be done, be it through creative marketing, smart publicity tactics, strong visual appearance or any of the other inventive ways of making their presence known.

The Stowe Center has hosted several programs in the past few years around the importance of equality for small businesses. We encourage you to read our October 27, 2011 blog post "Equal Opportunity for Small Businesses" for a recap of a Salon discussion and ways you can take action.

How will you take action this National Be Heard Day? Are there other issues you will "be heard" on? Share your ideas and views in the comments section below!

Listen, read and celebrate the "words that changed the world"

Uncle Tom's Cabin
2014 Marathon Reading 
Readers and Logo 
March 19 at Noon - 
 March 20 at 10:00 AM
Read aloud from Stowe's most famous work,
the anti-slavery story that changed the hearts and minds of people around the world 
10 minute selections
Respond ASAP!

Limited day/evening openings
Night Owls: Openings available  
Midnight - 6 AM 
Read in person, via Skype or prerecording

How to participate:
  • Sign up for a 10-minute reading: Info@StoweCenter.org or 860-522-9258, ext. 302
  • Bring friends to read with you
  • Skype in or pre-record
  • Stop in to listen -- groups are welcome 
  • Visit HarrietBeecherStowe.org for live-streamed audio
Please share this email and 
help us get readers from every continent!

Presenting Sponsor
 The Hartford logo 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 8 is International Women's Day

Share how you will be inspiring change in the comments section below!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Journalism and Gender" program on March 12, 2014 at the Legislative Office Building

Celebrate Women's Day at the Capitol, and National Women's History Month, by attending "Journalism & Gender: When Women Report on Politics and Public Policy" on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at the Legislative Office Building.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The NFL and the "N-word"

"I want players to know and understand that it is the most vicious word in the language. It's about us, as a race of African-American people, have to continually make our youngsters understand that the word can't be endearing. The word was created to make you feel, as a black man, that you were inferior; that you were nothing; that you were sub-human; that you had no talents; that all you could do is pick cotton. This is what the word was intended for."
- John Wooten, a former NFL lineman and the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation

On February 25, ESPN reported in "NFL to penalize use of racial slur," that John Wooten, head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, expected the National Football League (NFL) to ban the use of the "N-word" on the field and penalize teams 15 yards for players' use of the word. In the past, Wooten has encouraged players to refrain from using the N-word on the field, and hopes that the NFL's competition committee will officially ban the word at its owners' meeting this month. 

Richard ShermanPlayers and commentators have not remained quiet in the ensuing week. Responses have ranged from support of the NFL's proposed ban, to a doubt in the ability to enforce the rule, to extreme opposition. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman told ESPN that "It's an atrocious idea...It's almost racist to me. It's weird they're targeting one specific word. Why wouldn't all curse words be banned then?" Similarly, Jason McCourty, cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, commented that "It's a common word in so many players' everyday lives...Among African-American players and people, it's used among friends all the time. It seems like a bit much for the NFL to try to get rid of it. It's a pretty common word in the locker room." More of the conversation and debate around the proposed ban can be found at ESPN.com and in "Sherman disagrees with idea of ban."

The debate over the "N-word" particularly resonates with staff at the Stowe Center because Stowe herself used the word in Uncle Tom's Cabin, as it would have been a natural part of some of her characters' vocabulary. But for many, nothing can take the strong out of the use and hearing of the word, nor should it. We often hear from readers who have mixed reactions, or teachers who are not sure how they should approach the text and book, but we hope that Uncle Tom's Cabin will engender a respect for why the word and slur should not be directed toward people today. 

The Stowe Center and this blog are safe places to talk about difficult issues. So, we ask you: Do you think the NFL should ban the use of the "N-word"? We hope you will share your views and opinions in the Comments section below.

Monday, March 3, 2014

National Women's History Month

Every March our nation celebrates National Women's History Month, officially established in 1987 with the intent that "Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people." For more on National Women's History Month, read its history below, courtesy of Molly Murphy MacGregor, Executive Director and Cofounder of National Women's History Project

History of National Women's History Month
By Molly Murphy MacGregor, Executive Director and Cofounder
National Women's History Project
National Women's History MonthLocal Celebrations
As recently as the 1970's, women's history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in general public consciousness. To address this situation, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on theStatus of Women initiated a "Women's History Week" celebration for 1978.

The week March 8th, International Women's Day, was chosen as the focal point of the observance. The local Women's History Week activities met with enthusiastic response, and dozens of schools planned special programs for Women's History Week. Over one-hundred community women participated by doing special presentations in classrooms throughout the country and an annual "Real Woman" Essay Contest drew hundreds of entries. The finale for the week was a celebratory parade and program held in the center of downtown Santa Rosa, California.

Mobilizing a Movement 
In 1979, Molly Murphy MacGregor, a member of our group, was invited to participate in The Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, which was chaired by noted historian, Gerda Lerner and attended by the national leaders of organizations for women and girls. When the participants learned about the success of the Sonoma County's Women's History Week celebration, they decided to initiate similar celebrations within their own organizations, communities, and school districts. They also agreed to support an effort to secure a "National Women's History Week."

Presidential and Congressional Support 
The first steps toward success came in February 1980 when President Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women's History Week. In the same year, Representative Barbara Mikulski, who at the time was in the House of Representatives, and Senator Orrin Hatch co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution for National Women's History Week 1981. This co-sponsorship demonstrated the wide-ranging political support for recognizing, honoring, and celebrating the achievements of American women.

A National Lobbying Effort 
As word spread rapidly across the nation, state departments of education encouraged celebrations of National Women's History Week as an effective means to achieving equity goals within classrooms. Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Oregon, Alaska, and other states developed and distributed curriculum materials for all of their public schools. Organizations sponsored essay contests and other special programs in their local areas. Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities were celebrating National Women's History Week, supported and encouraged by resolutions from governors, city councils, school boards, and the U.S. Congress.

Each year, the dates of National Women's History Week, (the week of March 8th) changed and every year a new lobbying effort was needed. Yearly, a national effort that included thousands of individuals and hundreds of educational and women’s organizations was spearheaded by the National Women's History Project.

National Women’s History Month 
By 1986, 14 states had already declared March as Women's History Month. This momentum and state-by-state action was used as the rational to lobby Congress to declare the entire month of March 1987 as National Women's History Month. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women's History Month in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women.

Presidential Message 1980
President Jimmy Carter’s Message to the nation designating March 2-8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.
"From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.
As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, “Women’s History is Women’s Right.” – It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.”
I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2-8, 1980.
I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality - - Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy
Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul.
Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people.
This goal can be achieved by ratifying the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that “Equality of Rights under the Law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”