• After a Tulsa school sent home a 7-year-old black girl because school policy deemed dreadlocks "unacceptable," Melissa Harris-Perry wrote her a letter explaining some of the culture around black hair. [Feministing]
• San Antonio, Texas has passed a historic nondsicrimination bill that will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status. The ordinance, said the city's mayor, is a definitive statement that "there are no second-class citizens in San Antonio." [BuzzFeed]
• Some enterprising asshole created a site called GhettoTracker, ostensibly so that users can aid travelers by pointing out "which parts of town are safe and which ones are ghetto, or unsafe." After a well-deserved public shaming, the site has been retitled "Good Part of Town," but no worries—so far it looks to be just as racist and horrible as its first incarnation. [Gawker]
• In better-than-usual toy news, Lego unveiled its newest figurine—or "minifig," if you're hip to the Lego lingo—and she's a female scientist! In what's probably just a coincidence, she also looks exactly like my 8th-grade biology teacher, Ms. Rofman. [Fuck Yeah, Feminism]
Look at the set of flasks on her, huh?
Anything you want to add? Let us know in the comments!
• Iowa is home to the nation's first telemedicine program for abortion—whereby women, largely in rural areas, can take an abortion pill while under video supervision by their doctors. But the state's Board of Medicine is now voting to ban the program. [ThinkProgress]
• Wednesday's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was, in part, an effort to appeal to young citizens to continue the unfinished work of the civil rights movement. So why were young speakers cut out of the program? [Code Switch]
• Etsy's long been your source for twee knit baby caps and awesome letterpress Game of Thrones art, but who knew the site also peddled rape culture? Witness the glass, sold by Etsy shop ThatGlassStore, whose bottom is etched with the message "You've just been roofied." Classy! [Huffington Post via The Frisky]
• Filmmaker Dina Fiasconaro has launched a Kickstarter campaign in support of her documentary, Women and Meds, which focuses on women who take medication for mental illness and want children. Check out the trailer here. [Kickstarter]
The news on reproductive rights this year has not been good. Texas is shutting down health clinics, Ohio is forcing women to get an ultrasound before they get an abortion, Oklahoma is trying to restrict teens from buying Plan B over the counter—the country's reproductive options are generally going to hell in a Republican handbasket.
But there's one area of reproductive health that has been quietly and steadily improving for years: reducing teen pregnancies. During the last years of the Bush administration, the teen birth rate rose for the first time since 1992. But from 2007-2011 (the four most recent years the experts crunched the numbers), the trend swiftly reversed and the teen birth rate nationwide dropped a whopping 25 percent.
The reasons behind the drop are much more complex than just statistics on birth control use and funding for sex education—looking only at the dollars and data ignores the fact that we all learn about sex from the culture around us.
Today is not just any Wednesday—it's the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. All of today's links are about the impact of the speech and the civil rights issues we still face today.
• What problems still limit equality in our country? This piece sums it up: "It's about systematically cutting off certain groups of people from the right to vote, to earn a living wage, to make choices about their own bodies, to recognize and provide for their families." [Advocate]
• The name of the original march was actually the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." We've made progress promoting civil rights, but many of the march's original goals for creating economic equality have been forgotten. [PolicyMic]