Celebrating the beauty and diversity of our country on this #InternationalWomensDay with some of the many fierce and promising girls here at DC’s Cardozo Education Campus. I loved visiting this school because it tells the American story in so many ways. Three years ago, Cardozo established its International Academy with only 150 students, but today it boasts nearly 400 who are thriving in and out of the classroom. By embracing young immigrants and their diverse cultures and contributions, Cardozo is a model for our entire country. The girls I met with today are ready to take on the world. We’ve just got to make sure that the world is ready for them.
Laura Bassett: Obama Moves To Protect Planned Parenthood Funding, Permanently
The Obama administration has proposed a new rule that would prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood or any other family planning provider for political reasons. The new rule which the Department of Health and Human Services proposed last week, says that states cannot withhold Title X federal family planning money from certain recipients for any reason other than the “provider’s ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” That means states can no longer vote to defund Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics offer abortion services.
“This will make a real difference in so many people’s lives,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. “Thanks to the Obama administration, women will still be able to access the birth control they need to plan their families, and the cancer screenings they need to stay healthy.” The Title X program provides basic preventive health care and family planning services for 4 million low-income Americans. About 85 percent of patients who use Title X have incomes below $23,500. Planned Parenthood serves about a third of those patients, using the $70 million a year it receives in Title X grants to subsidize contraceptives and cancer and sexually transmitted infection screenings for people who can’t afford them.
Helene Cooper: Pentagon Set To Lift Ban On Transgender People Serving In U.S. Military
The Pentagon next month will announce the repeal of a policy banning transgender people from serving openly in the military, Defense Department officials said on Friday, moving to end what has widely been seen as one of the last barriers to service. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has called the regulation outdated and harmful to the military. A year ago, he directed officials from all the military branches to determine what changes would be needed to lift the ban, in a tacit recognition that thousands of transgender people were already in uniform. Under the Pentagon’s plan, first reported by USA Today, each branch will put in place policies covering recruiting, housing and uniforms for transgender troops.
Pentagon set to lift ban on transgender people serving in U.S. military nyti.ms/28TKgIm
Ashley Broadway-Mack, the president of the American Military Partner Association, a support network for partners and spouses of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops and veterans, said in a statement that “our transgender service members and their families are breathing a huge sigh of relief.” Estimates of the number of transgender people in the 1.2 million-member military range from 2,000 to more than 15,000. As with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that applied to gay men, lesbians and bisexuals until it was lifted in 2011, current rules have done little to keep transgender people out of the military. Instead, they have forced many to lie about their status and keep it a secret. Since taking the defense secretary post in February 2015, Mr. Carter has set about dismantling discriminatory rules in the services, including opening all combat positions to women. This week, Eric K. Fanning formally took over as Army secretary, becoming the first openly gay leader of a military service branch.
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the Union Market to celebrate International Women’s Day. First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to women gathered to mark the first anniversary of the Let Girls Learn initiative
"The confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality – all of that starts with education." —The First Lady on #InternationalWomensDay
Friday afternoon announcements in Washington are usually aimed at attracting as little attention as possible, but last Friday was different. President Obama’s decision to nominate Eric Fanning — an openly gay man — to head a branch of the military which only four years ago did not allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, was both historic and attention-grabbing. And it underscored an often-overlooked feature of the Obama presidency: Obama has presided over the most demographically diverse administration in history, according to a new analysis of his top appointments. The majority of top policy appointments within the executive branch are held by women and minorities for the first time in history. The shifts are significant enough, experts say, that they may have forever transformed the face of government. The Obama White House, by contrast, has established specific programs to boost diversity among appointees.
For the 1st time ever the majority of top exec branch posts aren't held by white men. Here's how @POTUS @vj44 did it wapo.st/1KsI5Xk
The Presidential Personnel Office targets historically black colleges and universities, as well as minority-serving institutions, as part of a new campus recruitment program. It has a liaison to identify candidates by working with leaders from underrepresented groups, including those who are LGBT or have disabilities. The impact of Obama’s diversity efforts could reverberate for decades in people such as Michael Blake, a son of Jamaican immigrants who was homeless as a child but worked on Obama’s two presidential campaigns and in the White House as associate director of public engagement. Last year, Blake won election to the New York State Assembly, with the help of a lot of other Obama alumni, including Marlon Marshall, who is now Hillary Rodham Clinton’s director of state campaigns and political engagement. Blake’s campaign slogan was about his transformation: “No House to the White House.” Obama, Blake said, has helped create a new network of people of color now climbing the ranks of government. “He did that,” Blake said. “He grew that.”
The Obama administration announced Thursday its teaming up with the New York City district attorney on a $79 million effort to speed testing of sexual assault evidence kits. The federal government will kick in $41 million in grants while New York will provide $38 million to clear a backlog of untested kits in 27 states. “When we solve these cases, we get rapists off the streets,” Vice President Biden said in a statement. “The grants we’re announcing today to reduce the national rape kit backlog will bring that sense of closure and safety to victims while improving community safety.” The rape kit backlog is a major issue for law enforcement and women’s groups.