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By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:40 am February 13th, 2014 in activism, Diversity, Sports | Comments Off 

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The  Washington Post is up with an interesting article about women now taking the political mantle from dads, rather than sons or rather than just sons. But I personally know people who will tell you that it was their mother’s activism that got them engaged. Here’s one story that highlights how U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) got her game from her grandmother. Only toward the end does the article mention women as “bequeathers” rather than “inheritors.”

Here’s the WaPo piece – what do you think?

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:51 am July 30th, 2013 in activism, Gender, Politics | 1 Comment 

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I’d say I’m at a loss for words for how to express my extreme discontent over Ohio House Bill 200 but I’m going to save it for a steady and increasingly louder drumbeat of arguments against it starting tonight. Make no mistake, to defeat this absolute and absolutely invasive set of provisions that completely contradict the charades of conservatives who say they want to keep government out of our lives, we will need to be as adamant, sharp, specific, relentless and vocal as ever, if not more so.

Your education on HB 200 can start with these links but I have no doubt this is just the beginning of the battle:

The bill itself – it has no fiscal notes or bill analysis yet

The Plain Dealer story on it including the laundry list of restrictions:

Among other things, the bill would:

• Require doctors to give women a verbal description of the ultrasound, including an audible heartbeat, if available. (The bill notes, however, that a woman can refuse to view ultrasound images or listen to the sounds detected by a fetal heart monitor.)

Compel abortion providers to tell patients that fetuses and embryos can feel pain, and that a woman who has an abortion increases her risk of breast cancer.

Extend the waiting period for abortions to 48 hours instead of 24.

Require doctors to tell patients seeking abortions in writing how much money they earn and how much income they would lose by not performing abortions.

Eliminate “medical necessity” as a reason to waive the waiting period. Medical necessity had been defined as a medical condition that complicates the pregnancy so that it warrants an immediate abortion.

Allow a waiver for a “medical emergency,” which is redefined in the bill as a condition that would result in the woman’s death without an abortion, as opposed to one that presents a serious risk to her life or physical health.

Doctors who do not follow the rules could be charged with a first-degree felony and fined up to $1 million.

Look at all those job-creation proposals, eh? Exactly what Ohio needs – you smart drafters, you.

Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:02 pm June 13th, 2013 in activism, conservatives, Courage, democracy, Gender, Health Care, Ohio, OhioHD12, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republicans, Sexism, Women | 1 Comment 

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U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and several other women in the United States Senate don’t give up and won’t be giving up, and no one should ever expect that they will, or should, when it comes to making sure that pursuit of sexual assault complaints in the military get handled with the utmost respect and efficacy as any other allegation, perhaps with more given the nature of the behavior involved. And so her statement, and the way in which she and other members of the Senate continue to press for what they believe is needed, while still acknowledging the challenges without delegitimizing the underlying concerns of those challenges, shows us how leadership in the political universe is and should be done.

Her statement:

Today we’ve taken several important steps forward to reform how the military handles sexual assault cases. But I’m disappointed that with respect to the provisions within the Military Justice Improvement Act that would remove sexual assault cases from the military chain of command, the voices of sexual assault victims have been drowned out by military leaders who’ve failed to combat the pervasive sexual assault crisis. I will continue fighting to strengthen the NDAA by offering the Military Justice Improvement Act as an amendment once we take it up on the Senate floor. I promise, our advocacy on this issue has only just begun.

And video:

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:43 pm June 12th, 2013 in activism, democracy, Gender, Military, Sexism, Women | Comments Off 

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Here’s the trailer:

And its website.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:03 pm June 8th, 2013 in activism, Diversity, Elections, Gender, Women, Youth | Comments Off 

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I’m going to camp this weekend, and I’m as fair-skinned as they come, but sunblock is the last thing I’ll need.

That’s because I’m going to the Sunlight Foundation’s Transparency Camp in Washington, D.C. Tcamp, as many call it (you can follow it on Twitter via the hashtag, #tcamp13 and its handle, @tcampDC). And while the goal of shining light where it’s darkest or most obscured is a main function of the foundation, the last thing campers want is for people – and government – to start slathering on the block.

A couple of summers ago, Sunlight helped bring the Transparency Action Plan Summit to Cleveland and many of the folks involved in that effort continue to be good government stewards. They got a special shout-out at the 2012 TCamp.

This year, I’ve been asked to participate in a variety of ways (okay, okay, they’ve been trying to get me there for a few years now in part because there simply aren’t that many elected officials whose day jobs are also in the world of civic engagement, good government and transparency – but we’re trying to change that!). In particular, Sunlight has doubled-down on looking into what’s happening on the local government scene – what’s being done, what’s not being done, what’s needed and how does it happen or get made to happen. I’m just a wee bit excited.

So what am I packing? Well, for sure I’ll be packing links that highlight how the Civic Commons has become a tool through which citizens as well as government entities can dialogue and deliberate on tough subjects and can not only increase awareness about those subjects, but also can out the variety of views people hold. For example, in today’s Plain Dealer, the very front page, very top of the fold article’s headline has the word, “transparency” in it. But beyond that? The article is in regard to proposals by County Prosecutor Tim McGinty who participated vigorously in the Commons’ three-day online debate with the other four primary candidates for that office last year – an online discourse that was used to help the Citizens League of Greater Cleveland make an endorsement in that race.

And then there’s the example of the skywalk – a topic that’s gained big attention at the Commons and is also featured today in the PD as we learn that Dan Gilbert is willing to pay nearly $80 million dollars to buy a building so he can put a skywalk in it. I’m assuming he knows he can’t count on Joe Baur and company to cheer him on. But the question isn’t only what will they do next to make their feelings known – what can they do next if they want to stop the skywalk? What would you do? My mind goes to the ill-will this is creating in the community. What price will Gilbert pay because of that – what price will we all pay because of that?

With social media being what it is, you can follow me and the other campers (check out the attendee list here) on Twitter and Facebook, but also look for my What I Did Last Summer post next week when I report back on smores and more.

Cross-posted from the Civic Commons.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:32 am May 3rd, 2013 in activism, democracy, Engagement, social media | 1 Comment 

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I used to think that when someone called me, or in fact to be called an idealist, was some kind of a slight. But somehow, just now, 30 plus years into adulthood, I realize that in fact making the ideal real is all an idealist is about. And it’s a pretty powerful thing – to me, it means I never give up (okay, well, I rarely give up) – especially on really big picture things. Here’s a bit of what I’m talking about:

School district superintendents at your neighborhood coffee? Entire city councils, state elected officials and big city mayors tweeting themselves? What’s coming over people? Could it be that a critical mass of content finally has piled up (in no small part here on the Civic Commons: Dan’s blog post, his and Luke Frazier’s radio show on the subject of school board meetings, and this conversation started by a local resident) and folks are taking the hint that this is exactly what they should be doing, especially if they’re elected people in charge of taxpayer dollars?

The Internet and many other varieties of technological innovations multiply the ways in which we can engage with each other. My Civic Commons work often makes me think about how our platform makes saying “no” to engagement an impossibility, because it is so safe and easy here.

And yet the safe and easy isn’t even what the folks reaching out in any of those examples to which I’ve hyperlinked have in mind. If it was, you wouldn’t read about a superintendent who goes knocking on doors to get input and have conversations.

Read the rest here.

Has anyone ever called you an idealist, or have you ever called someone an idealist, especially in a pejorative way? Maybe you need to think again.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:36 pm March 15th, 2013 in activism, Courage, democracy, leadership | Comments Off 

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This column by Deanna Zandt tells you everything you need to know about the effort to make visible the myriad talents in the tech world that repeatedly get overlooked. It’s definitely a teach them how to fish not just a give them a fish approach – which is to say it seeks to change the culture and the cultural conditions that lead to women and minorities being left out in disproportionate numbers to their presence from the tech world.

Please read the column, use the hashtag #one4one and identify folks you think should be more visible and pass it on.  From the column:

Imagine if we could break out of the linear constraints that bind us when we’re making lists of favorite people. What if it were like a trading card game, where you got to pick your Babe Ruths, and also see who’s picked you? And what if we made one of the parameters of the game that you got more points for picking people in your field from underrepresented groups?

A bunch of us who work in the tech and information industries are tired of pointing out that women and people of color are missing from lists, from panels, from articles about the industry, and that it’s the same six straight white guys having conversations about the future of media, technology and, well, everything. And a lot of people are tired of hearing it. So, let’s jump in and do something, and, as Rachel Sklar has been pushing for, change the ratio.

Go to Twitter right now, before you even finish reading this post, and share your One.

You heard Deanna – now go. Then read her column in its entirety and pass it on. Thank you.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:59 am July 11th, 2012 in activism, Gender, Tech, Women | Comments Off 

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Stefanie Penn Spear is a resident of Chagrin Falls, a small business owner, mother of three and Founder and Executive Director of the soon-to-be launched 24/7 print and online news outlet about the environment, EcoWatch. I first learned about Stefanie after reading an excellent column she wrote that was published in both the Chagrin Valley Times and the Chagrin Solon Sun.  In the column, she explains the natural alliance between business and the environment – two things about which she knows more than most people.  In this exclusive interview with me, Stefanie details both the spark that ignited her dedication, and steps all of us can take to kindle the sparks and create sparks in others.

Please read the full post at Moms Clean Air Force.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:24 am October 23rd, 2011 in activism, Cleveland+, Economy, Energy, Environment, leadership, Ohio, Resources, Science, Women | Comments Off 

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Will it occupy you?

More here at #occupycleveland’s official site (that’s the hashtag for it btw) and here (that’s the Google blog search results for “occupy cleveland”).

UPDATE: Here’s a video with Cleveland participants including well-known civil rights lawyer Terry Gilbert talking about the effort.  They say they will be there in Public Square through the weekend with a rally on Saturday.  Anyone know if they’ll be having a meal on Friday before Kol Nidre and a break fast on Saturday night when Yom Kippur ends? Interesting juxtaposition of timing.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:02 pm October 4th, 2011 in activism, Cleveland+, Economy, employment | 2 Comments 

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On the heels of the release of Mothers’ of Intention: How Women and Social Media Are Revolutionizing Politics In America (disclosure: there’s an essay of mine in there), I interviewed author, journalist and political pundit, Joanne Bamberger, for Moms Clean Air Force.  Please read the full post here in which Bamberger makes a clear case for the role mothers have in changing our world.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 2:32 pm October 1st, 2011 in activism, Energy, Environment, leadership, Moms Clean Air Force, Politics | Comments Off 

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Stefanie Spear’s EcoWatchOhio has an excellent post about the Beyond Coal group here.  It appears to be a direct result of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s commitment to clean air, with his recent $50 million gift to The Sierra Club. You can read more about their meeting this evening here. The basics:

September 27, 2011 – 7:00pm – 8:00pm


Cleveland Heights Public Library @ Lee Road (Main)

2345 Lee Road

Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

For questions, contact  Many thanks to Alistair for reaching out to me and informing me of this development.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 2:33 pm September 27th, 2011 in activism, Energy, Environment, Health Care, Moms Clean Air Force | Comments Off 

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Word cloud of what getting off the sidelines means

Many thanks to US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for this effort and graphic.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:20 am September 7th, 2011 in activism, Civil Rights, democracy, Gender | 1 Comment 

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I have no worries about my Congressional Rep., Marcia Fudge (D, OH-11) or U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, when it comes to the debt ceiling. But I did just write freshman Senator Rob Portman.  You can too – just go here for Sen. Portman or here for how to reach all members of Congress.

Dear Senator Portman,

I have lived in Ohio for more than 20 years. I am engaged in my community and nationally when it comes to political issues and other causes.  I have run for and won office (2009, Pepper Pike City Council, though I am not writing on behalf of my City at this time).

So I appreciate the need to govern and the demands of different constituencies.

I saw you on Andrea Mitchell’s 1pm show yesterday (Monday, 7/25) and I appreciate your calm affect.  I am urging you to apply your calmness beyond just your affect and to the position of your Republican colleagues in the House and Senate: please demand, work toward and vote for either a clean debt ceiling increase now, or seek to construct with Sen. Reid what can be passed by the Senate, the House and signed by the President.

This is no time to care about or consider currying favor with the base of either political party, a number which pales in comparison to the total population of the United States, all of whom will suffer in some way – and some far more than others – should the U.S. be unable to cover its obligations.

Again, as a sitting city councilperson in a community that many would think should have no financial problems but sadly due to never thinking that even Pepper Pike cannot plan only for best case scenarios, I understand the passion with which different electeds come at the problems you’re facing.

But those of us outside the Beltway are begging for balance and to be heard.  Please hear the needs of the multitudes who do not affiliate with any party and find a way to raise the debt ceiling as was done so many times while you yourself were at the OMB.

Very truly yours,

Jill Miller Zimon, JD, MSSA
Pepper Pike City Council Member

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:31 am July 26th, 2011 in activism, Congress, democracy, Government, Ohio, Politics, rob portman | 4 Comments 

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This morning, I had coffee with a friend who is a mom, a lawyer and a constituent of mine. She also happens to be a woman who, with a group of other women who had supported John Kerry in Ohio only to see his candidacy fall short, formed what is now what I would consider to be the preeminent women’s caucus in our region if not our state, the Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus.

Although she is perpetually, like so many of us, in the midst of several other very time-sensitive situations that demand her attention, we made ourselves find time to sit down together to talk about an issue that is identical to what I believe the Moms Clean Air Force is all about: getting people to care, notice and take action, at whatever level they can muster, in regard to issues we believe are critical to not only our quality of life, but our children’s and our children’s children’s quality of life. For my friend and I, this issue is getting women into public service, politics and positions of leadership.  And equally vital to me is the MCAF end goal of taking action and moving others to take action in order to guarantee no backsliding and only forward motion in protecting our environment, primarily in the MCAF case, clean air.

How do we do this, my friend and I asked – how do we get women to care about politics, let alone consider running for office? As we were trying to brainstorm (in between getting sidetracked onto a number of other topics that excite us), it occurred to me that this question is very similar to the questions we ask ourselves in the MCAF effort: what can we tell you that will compel you? Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:18 pm May 20th, 2011 in activism, Energy, Environment, leadership, Moms Clean Air Force, Parenting, Politics | 1 Comment 

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Last week, Earth Day commemorations included a listing of the “most green” and “least green” states. As I wrote then, Ohio won the gold – or tarnished – ring and was named the most least green state in the country. Yippee.

Now comes the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report for 2011. The Columbus Dispatch reports that, relatively speaking, there’s been some improvement:

Heidi Griesmer, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman, said the bad smog grades don’t reflect the region’s steady improvement in air quality. Mandatory pollution cuts at power plants, cleaner fuels and lower-polluting cars are driving the reductions, she said.

The bad smog grades are due in part to research indicating that even lower concentrations pose health risks. The U.S. EPA is expected to propose a tougher smog standard this year, and central Ohio is expected to fail that, too.

But when you look at the grades and information for all of Ohio and for my region, Cuyahoga County, it’s impossible to ignore the miserably low expectations we’ve set if these grades are an improvement.  The Plain Dealer, the paper of record in NE Ohio, says as much not only in its headline, “Lung Association annual air pollution report marks improvement, but air still poor in Cleveland, U.S.,” and amplifies that sentiment in the article: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:25 am April 28th, 2011 in activism, CuyahogaCounty, Energy, Environment, leadership, Moms Clean Air Force, Politics, Science, Utilities, Writing, Youth | 4 Comments 

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In the Senate:

Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (both Maine) do not want to defund Planned Parenthood.

Newly elected Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire) waffles when not emitting talking points so I construe that to be in favor of letting Planned Parenthood get defunded.

Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas)  – I can’t find anything from her on this but her voting record seems to indicate that she might allow it to be defunded.

Update on Hutchison: She’s a motivator behind a military troop funding through a governtment shutdown bill in the US Senate that appears to have at least 60 supporters, including other women and other Democrats.  It does not appear that there is anything connected to Planned Parenthood in it.

In the House (all the women newby Republicans):

Kristi Noem (SD): will allow defunding of Planned Parenthood (“Noem said she believes the riders and the budget cuts are “intertwined” and that she supports them.”)

Nan Hayworth (NY): supports defunding Planned Parenthood

Vicky Hartzler, (MO): supports defunding Planned Parenthood

Martha Roby, (Alabama) and Sandy Adams (FL) appear to support defunding Planned Parenthood, reportedly agreeing that $61 billion in cuts for 2011 is reasonable (the reports right now are that there’s consensus on $38 billion between Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. John Boehner)

Renee Ellmers (NC): leading the way to defund Planned Parenthood

Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA): supports defunding Planned Parenthood

Update: Left out two women (thanks to the commenter who drew my attention to that!):

Ann Marie Buerkle (NY): supports defunding Planned Parenthood

Diane Black (TN): supports defunding Planned Parenthood

Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:54 am April 8th, 2011 in Abortion, activism, Congress, conservatives, Gender, Health Care, leadership, Parenting, Politics, Republicans, Social Issues, Women | 4 Comments 

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You can read all the details here for the event,“Women Empowering Women” Series of Dialogue Scaling Up…Can I Dream Big, happening this Friday, March 18, from 8:30am to 1:30pm, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Independence just off 77.

But all you really need to know is that Gloria Feldt is the featured panelist and keynote speaker along with several other powerful personalities who will get you motivated and moving (as if what’s been going on in Ohio this week hasn’t been enough to get anyone out of even the worst stupor).

I must also give a plug to say that Gloria has been a personal and professional role model and mentor to me. I am grateful for her letting me in close enough to really observe her and learn from her directly and indirectly.  She is simply that warm and embracing, while also being a fierce, fierce advocate for women and women’s rights.  Given that another woman, Connie Schultz, about whom I feel very similarly will also be part of this event, I feel extremely lucky.

And I’m not even mentioning that the fantastic Pepper Pike resident, Rita Singh, who was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame last year, is the organizer of this entire series for women. Ahem.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:45 pm March 16th, 2011 in activism, Announcements, leadership, Social Issues, Women, Writing | 1 Comment 

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women-revolution-lama-hasan-uprising-middle-east-libya-egypt-human-rights-politics-13069528While doing Sunday chores, I got to see the cover of the redesigned and Tina Brown-ified Newsweek about to come out, with a very powerful image of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the cover as well as watch with great interest an all-woman roundtable discussing the role of women in the revolutions occurring in N. Africa/the Middle East (Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia for example).

Here’s the cover (I can’t find the articles online yet but I’m very eager to see that 150 women list):

And here are the two clips about women of the revolutions.  The first is a news item/reportage and the second is a roundtable conducted by Christiane Amanpour with Tina Brown (Daily Beast/Newsweek), Egyptian Writer/Activist Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, Zainab Salbi (Women for Women International ) and Sussan Tahmadebi (International Civil Society Action Network for Women’s Rights, Peace and Security).

You can see the 150 Women Who Shake the World here and the Hillary Clinton article here.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:52 pm March 6th, 2011 in activism, democracy, Foreign Affairs, Gender, Hillary Clinton, leadership, middle east, Politics, Religion, Sexism, Social Issues, war, Women | Comments Off 

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Yesterday, I was the speaker at the Strongsville Youth Commission’s Modern-day Talk on Gender Equality. The audience ranged in age from elementary or middle school through seniors – not just in high school but as in our senior citizens. They let me talk for quite a while and then we discussed several deeper issues related to this topic. Their grasp and concern was as great as anyone would wish for. My goal was for them to leave with more questions than answers, and I do believe that was achieved, especially since, just on my way out, a few attendees were continuing to ask questions!

It was a delightful event and I’m grateful for having been asked to participate. Many thanks.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 6:52 pm March 6th, 2011 in activism, Education, Gender, Jill Miller Zimon, Ohio, Parenting, Social Issues, Youth | Comments Off 

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