Nina Liss-Schultz

Nina Liss-Schultz

Senior Online Editorial Fellow

Before joining Mother Jones, Nina was an editorial intern at Bitch Magazine in Portland, Oregon. In the past she has worked for Think Progress, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. You can follow her @NinaLisss and email her at nliss-schultz [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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Federal Court Rules North Dakota's Extreme Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

| Wed Apr. 16, 2014 1:34 PM PDT

On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked a North Dakota law that would have banned all abortions after a heartbeat is detectable in the fetus, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The judge, Daniel Hovland, called the ban—which passed last year and was immediately challenged by the Red River Women's Clinic, the only abortion provider in the state—"invalid and unconstitutional," and said it would impose an "undue burden on women seeking to obtain an abortion."

The North Dakota law is one of the most far-reaching abortion bans in the country. Many women aren't aware that they are pregnant until well after six weeks into a pregnancy. Under the North Dakota law, those women wouldn't be able to seek abortions at all.

North Dakota is one of several states that have pushed laws banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. In March, a federal judge struck down a similar ban Arkansas had passed last year. But losses in the courts haven't stopped these efforts from spreading—the Alabama House passed a fetal heartbeat bill last month, and state legislatures in Wyoming, Mississippi, and Ohio have considered similar legislation in the past year.

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How About a Dolores Huerta Day?

| Mon Mar. 31, 2014 4:38 PM PDT

March 31 is Cesar Chavez's birthday and a national holiday honoring his pioneering activism (which is the subject of a new feature film) around farm-workers rights. He is perhaps best known as a founder of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), now the United Farm Workers, a labor union. His cofounder Dolores Huerta, though still alive, is not nearly as well known. So who is she? Born in 1930 and raised in Stockton, California, Huerta, who is portrayed by Rosario Dawson in the Chavez film, has been arrested more than 20 times during peaceful protests, and is still out on the front lines taking part in civil rights actions. Here are five things you should know about her.

1. She's the mother of the farm-workers movement.
After quitting her teaching job in 1955, Huerta helped register people to vote and became an organizer in the Community Service Organization, a Mexican-American association in California where Cesar Chavez was the statewide director. The pair eventually branched off, in 1962, to found the NFWA, and the rest is history.

2. She was instrumental in winning key protections for workers.
Only a year after launching the NFWA, Huerta secured disability insurance for California farm workers, and was central in the creation of the Aid for Dependent Families, a federal assistance program that stayed in effect until 1996.

3. She led a historic boycott against the grape industry.
In 1965, a group of Filipino workers went on strike for better working conditions, a cause that became known as the "Delano Grape Strike." Huerta suggested to Chavez that the National Farm Workers Association boycott all California table grapes in support of Filipino workers. In 1970, the grape industry signed an agreement that increased wages and improved working conditions.

4. She originated the phrase, "Si se puede."
Translated as "Yes we can," this expression should be familiar to anyone who's ever attended a labor protest in California. Although it is often misattributed to Chavez, Huerta told Makers that she came up with it. "It's important for women to be able to take credit for the work that they do," she said.

5. She helped put Latinas in power.
After a life-threatening assault by a police officer at a protest rally when she was 58, Huerta took a leave from the union to focus on the women's movement. She campaigned across the country for two years as part of the Feminist Majority's project to encourage Latinas to run for office. According to Huerta's website, it had a significant affect on the number of women in government.

So, Happy Cesar Chavez Day, and don't forget to give Huerta her due! Here's a trailer for the film:

Ana Tijoux Waxes Political With "Vengo"

| Mon Mar. 17, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

Ana Tijoux

Nacional Records

Felipe Cantillana/Wikimedia Commons

Ana Tijoux (read our past interview with her here) grew up amid political upheaval and turmoil in Chile; the rise of the Pinochet regime prompted her family to flee for France, and it wasn't until the 1990s that Tijoux returned home—so it's little surprise the MC—who gained international notoriety when the track from her sophomoric solo album, "1977," was featured in an episode of Breaking Bad—raps about power, government, and community. In Vengo, the follow-up to Grammy-nominated La Bala, Tijoux sings in Spanish over pan flutes and horn-heavy beats, situating herself somewhere between local Andean music and global hip-hop. In the title track, which exemplifies the album's dialog between these worlds, she raps confidently over a banging beat about her ancestry and the possibilities of revolution.

I come for answers
With a bundle of full and open veins
I come as an open book eager to learn the untold story of our ancestors...

I come to build a dream
The brightness of life that inhabits the new man
I come looking for an ideal of a world without
Class that can rise up

Charts: Hollywood's White Dude Problem

| Fri Feb. 21, 2014 4:00 AM PST

It's 2014, yet women and people of color still are vastly underrepresented in the United States media landscape. A report published Wednesday by the Women's Media Center found that, while some progress toward equality has been made, journalism and entertainment still lack a diversity of voices and a variety in representation. If the US media were a person, he'd be an old white guy.

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