Felicia Kornbluh

Commentator

Felicia Kornbluh is Director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program and an Associate Professor of History at the University of Vermont. Kornbluh is one of 16 members of the Vermont Commission on Women and is the president elect of United Academics, the UVM faculty union.

Many Americans were surprised that some of the most militant responses to the proposed Republican health care plan came from disability activists – who staged a “die-in” outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that resulted in a woman being removed from her wheelchair as she was arrested. But in fact, the disability rights movement has for decades employed a battery of tactics, including mass protest and civil disobedience.

I called my mother just before 11 o’clock Election night. I didn’t know the final outcome of the presidential election. But I saw the close races in Michigan and North Carolina and knew things were bad for Democrats and feminists. My mother, Beatrice Braun, is both. She’s 88. She served in the original lawyers’ network that became the NOW Legal Defense Fund. The state law legalizing abortion in New York was written in my parents’ living room – three years before Roe v. Wade. We only spoke briefly because she found it all just too upsetting.

March is the month Americans recognize as Women’s History Month. But in this age of leaders like Hillary Clinton, some people wonder if we still need women’s history.