On Jan. 2, Gerda Lerner, a founding member of the National Organization for Women and history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died at the age of 92. She founded the first national graduate program in women’s history and a women’s studies program at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. She wrote The Creation of Patriarchy in 1986 and The Creation of Feminist Consciousness in 1996. She edited Black Women in White America, one of the first books to document the struggles and contributions of Black women in U.S. history. She said imprisonment by the Nazis at age 18 taught her how society can manipulate people and allowed her to resist the notion that women had no significant history.
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Fifty U.S. LGBT, Queer, Two Spirited, and allied organizations observed Dec. 17, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, signing a statement of support of worldwide efforts to defend the lives and rights of all people involved in the sex trade. Even for perceived involvement in the sex trades, many are targeted for violence. The groups, including the ACLU, Lambda Legal, the Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Black Justice Coalition, recognized that sex workers have been at the forefront of movements for LGBTQ freedom worldwide and must play a leadership role in informing our response to violence against sex workers.
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Amnesty International has demanded the release of 11 women detained in the town of Buraida by Saudi Arabian authorities unless they are charged with an internationally recognizable crime. They were arrested on Jan. 5 for “infringing the system” when 18 women and 10 children gathered outside Buraida’s Board of Grievances to protest the continued detention of relatives in connection with Saudi anti-terrorism efforts.