Author: Cammie Ray Chatwin

Showing what women can do, and making it happen

Students, faculty and guests had the pleasure of hearing Asha Hagi Elmi Amin speak Oct. 8 at 11:30 a.m. in SC 213A. Amin, a Somali woman and one of the world’s foremost experts on peace building, addressed a group of approximately 70. Like many Somali women, Amin’s marriage arrangement required her to leave her family and clan to live among her husband’s, an adjustment she described as extremely difficult. “My husband and I had very different identities even though we came from the same village, the same school and the same university,” Amin said. Somalia, which has been embroiled in civil war for the last nineteen years, has seen its clans influenced and divided by contentious politicians. With mistrust and hostility between clans,  Amin and women in her situation found themselves rejected by both the clan of their birth and the clan of their marriage. In the war-torn African country, women who previously had no influence in the peace talks have been forced to take on the roles of husbands and fathers who have been killed. “Women and children are the first and last victims of war, but without decision-making power,” said Amin. “I found the courage to speak out for thousands of Somali women with the same pain.” In 2000, Amin led women in organizing The Sixth Clan, the first organization to cross Somali clan lines. The women...

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Letter to an anonymous critic

I got this new bumper sticker at the Mad as Hell Doctors event on Sept 12. It reads, “My car has better health insurance than I do.” After a long, frustrating day I returned to my car in free parking to find the following note under my windshield wiper: “Your car may have better insurance coverage than your health, but that’s because you pay for your car insurance out of your pocket, not MINE! Keep the feds out of our pockets and our healthcare. They botched Medicare and Medicaid — They [sic] destroy healthcare, too.” It’s possible I am without some much-needed medication at any given time because there is usually little or no cash left after I’ve paid the rent, my city bill, gas bill, phone bill and car insurance (which I’m required by law to purchase). My doctor tells me I’m playing medical roulette when I go on and off my medications, but I don’t have other options – I don’t have insurance. According to Harvard Medical School researchers, “Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — in large part because they lack health insurance and cannot get good care.” What does this have to do with me? Well, I’m uninsured and that makes me nearly twice as likely to die unnecessarily from complications associated with preventable diseases such...

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