My last blog had #1 Why I haven’t been blogging and #2 was about laughter. This blog starts with #3: ACTIVISM. It’s been awhile since I wrote about what I’m focusing on in these rough times. But in addition to what’s below, I am a board member of the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential which I founded 24 years ago. It is a state-wide non-profit which focuses on adolescent reproductive health, comprehensive sexuality education, teen pregnancy prevention and health and fitness. I am very proud of the work we do in Georgia and I continue to be involved though from afar. Our big annual fundraiser this year will be Nov 14th in Atlanta and will feature Sheryl Crow performing and Sara Blakely, Founder of SPANX, interviewing me. Fun!!!
I am also co-founder with Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan of The Women’s Media Center whose mission is to amplify women’s voices in the media. I encourage you to go onto our remarkable website to learn more.
Because of the times we are in, I’m spending more time on the ground with these organizations:
3. My Activism. I’m on the board of the Working America Education Fund board. WA is the biggest canvassing operation organizing in working class communities year-round since 2003 when it was founded by Karen Nussbaum. FYI, back in the ‘70s, Karen was the founder of 9to5: The National Association of Women Office Workers who inspired me to make the film “9 to 5.”
The fact that WA is ‘year-round’ is key. It’s one reason why, according to independent analysts, Working America is 2 to 3 times more effective than the standard canvass in winning votes. Their trained canvassers don’t just show up during the election cycle and push a particular candidate. They become ‘trusted messengers.’ The people they talk to become WA members and get information they don’t get from Fox News, which is their primary source of information otherwise.
Membership makes a difference. In 2018, 8% of Trump voters switched and voted for Democrats. But 38% of Working America members who voted for Trump voted for Democrats.
Working America will be focusing on 10 states. Kentucky and Virginia are bell-weather 2019 elections — and campaigning in Kentucky allows us to hold Mitch McConnell accountable and challenge his re-election in 2020. Another 8 states are presidential battlegrounds, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona. This year, after Grace & Frankie’s 6th season is done shooting and I’ve recovered from my 2nd knee replacement surgery in July, I will be canvassing with Working America.
Here I am with a group of ROC canvassers in front of the Michigan capital in Lansing, MI, last November, fighting for One Fair Wage.
I’m also on the board of ROC Action (Restaurant Opportunities Centers Action) which is fighting for One Fair Wage so that all tipped workers (the majority of whom are women) earn at least the minimum wage PLUS their tips. Right now, due to lobbying by the restaurant industry—ironically the NRA, the National Restaurant Assoc–the federally mandated salary for restaurant workers has been frozen at $2.13 for 28 years!!!!! which means that besides often having to work multiple jobs just to support themselves and their families, the nation’s 13 million plus restaurant workers have to put up with patrons who may grope them, pinch them, insult them because they are TOTALLY dependent on the tips for their survival. In the 7 states (CA, WA, OR, NEV, MINN, WISC and Alaska) that do not have a two-tiered wage, sexual harassment and poverty have been cut by 50%! And in those states the restaurant business is thriving, something the NRA doesn’t want you to know.
We spend more time worrying if the chicken we ordered is organic than about the human being who is serving us. Big chains like Applelbee’s, Dennys and The Olive Garden are among the worst offenders. The One Fair Wage campaign is moving in Congress and in New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Illinois; if you live in one of those states write your state representative, and if you don’t, please write your federal representative and demand they support the effort.
Then there’s Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program on the planet. It was founded 30 years ago by Father Greg Boyle and some 8000 formerly incarcerated women and men come through their doors annually seeking to enroll in one or more of their services which include mental health, legal services, anger management, tattoo removal and, most importantly, to receive unconditional love. For those who are ready to become trainees in their 18-month program, there are jobs with benefits at the renown Homeboy Bakery, Homegirl Café, Homeboy Recycling, etc. Anyone who knows Homeboy Industries comes away knowing viscerally what could happen if we invested in people, rather than incarcerate our way out of things.
Lily Tomlin and I co-hosted Homeboy Industries large annual fundraiser, Lo Maximo, this year. It was wildly successful and very moving. So as to get a true sense of the Homeboy vibe, Lily and I worked for a while in their bakery being mentored in the making of croissants by 2 former rival gang members. In the past, these guys would just as soon have shot each other. Now they’re baking bread side-by-side.
Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda at the Homeboy Bakery
I am on the board of Homeboy Industries, the largest reentry and rehabilitation program for formally incarcerated men and women in the world. You can learn more about Homeboy Industries here: https://homeboyindustries.org/donate/donate-online/Lily Tomlin and I recently worked in their famous Homeboy Bakery where 2 former gang members taught us to make croissants.Here’s the video of our bakery experience:
Posted by Jane Fonda on Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Here is the video that was made of our bakery experience.
#4. Special Things Over the Last Few Months: In my last blog you saw a photo of the V-Day board which was under the subject of laughter—because there’s always so much of that when we’re all together. Above is the same group holding Eve’s new book, “The Apology”. Let me quote the Amazon review:
“For anyone delving into this slim but profoundly powerful book, fair warning that it could be triggering. Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues) was sexually and physically abused by her father from the ages of 5-10. When he died, he hadn’t taken any accountability for the horrors he visited upon his daughter and the impact it had on her life. The Apology is written by Ensler in the form of a letter from her father to her, outlining his crimes and asking forgiveness–a brutal purging that provides a pathway to Ensler’s healing (and hopefully that of other survivors). With HBO’s Leaving Neverland, the scourge of sexual abuse is very much at the forefront of the cultural conversation right now. The Apology, out in May, promises to be a potent and extraordinarily compassionate addition to it. “ — Erin Kodicek, Amazon
It’s hard for me to imagine what it took for Eve to drill down into her deepest, darkest recesses and channel her father in the way she did. She says, in the end, it was a true catharsis. What it revealed to me is what it would look like for a perpetrator to actually do the self-work that would make a true apology possible. Humility is an essential ingredient because humility softens the dark, hard place which encases entitlement and ego. It softens the soul. You can tell when a soul is softened enough for a true apology to be made. So, let’s always be prepared to forgive but let’s also pay close attention to whether the one asking forgiveness has done the work.
Another special thing for me has been the film, “Capernaum” (Chaos). I’ve seen it 4 times which is a first. It was my favorite film this year. It’s a Lebanese movie written and directed by Nadine Labaki which won the Grand Jury Prize last year at the Cannes Film Festival. It lacked the budget to do a real PR campaign which is a shame because everyone I have urged to see it says it should have won an Oscar. You can see it on Netflix. I won’t try to tell you the story because I can’t do it justice because there are so many layers to what this film is saying.
Also, on Netflix is the gem of a series, “Our Planet” narrated by the one and only David Attenborough. I see every single nature film I can, and this series has images that are astounding and never before seen. It also makes the case for the interconnectedness of things better than it’s ever been made. I wish our president would watch it.
And just to end on a light note, here are some photos of me at a recent L’Oréal shoot basking in a bathtub filled with peonies and rose petals with Helen Mirren teasing me, my team glamming me and Tulea looking on.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential: https://www.gcapp.org/
The Women’s Media Center: http://www.womensmediacenter.com/
Working America Education Fund: https://www.workingamerica.org/
Restaurant Opportunities Centers Action: https://rocunited.org/resources/for-workers/
One Fair Wage Campaign: http://onefairwage.com/
Homeboy Industries: https://homeboyindustries.org/
The Apology by Eve Ensler (book): http://smarturl.it/the-apology
Capernaum (film): https://sonyclassics.com/capernaum/
Our Planet (Netflix): https://www.netflix.com/title/80049832
Dear Jane: You are as beautiful as the Chopin’s nocturne #1
Terri Mae Owens
I just discovered your blogs. Thank you for sharing what’s important to you. Its educational to read. I found the Blogs in a round about way, while researching the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. I learned that you were a board member, and I googled you, seeking information on the artistic side of you. In an interview I watched of you and Lily, I learned that you really do read and answer your comments on your Blog. I want you to know that you are more than just an actress to me. I have always admired the fact that even though you had such a famous father, and grew up around so many famous people, you come across as a person who is no different than me. You have had many life challenges but you have not allowed any of those challenges to cause you to check out on life. Like me, you are a fighter. You worked hard to get to where you are. You know what its like to live in one room. The fact that you are rich and famous is not the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the name Jane Fonda. What I think of first is your humanitarian activism. I respect the fact that you have always used your fame, your money, and your voice, to advocate for the life conditions of many people, impoverished and others, who otherwise would not have as strong of a voice. Thank you. Indirectly, I am one of those persons. I am an artist, and in seeking information to contact Maxwell L. Anderson, I found that you are on the Board of Souls Grown Deep. I am 62 years old, and I have spent my life chasing the American Dream. While I have not realized it, I have never given up on trying. I have earned a BA, and more recently, at age 62, one class away from an MFA. I paint, I am a sculptor, and I sew hand made quilts. I was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. I am a Geechee Girl. Can you write a blog about where the artwork and furnishings come from that we see on the set of shows like Frankie and Gracie? Is there such a thing as a submissions process to have your work shown? I love the space you guys live in. How can I get one of my painting seen on the wall of a Frankie and Gracie set? I would love to just gift you a piece of my art. Bill Cosby made many artist famous because we first saw their art on the Cosby Show. I started collecting prints I could afford because of that show. The reason he is incarcerated is only one aspect of his life. I prefer to not shame people and instead forgive because none of us are perfect. That show impacted the way I parented my children in a positive way. Serena Williams said not to wait for people to contact you, she said to reach out to people first. I have been doing that. I decided that the worst that can happen is that the answer to my question will be sorry, I can’t help you, or I will not receive a response at all. At any rate, what matters to me is that I was vulnerable enough to try. I can’t wait to read your response. Thank you…
Terri Mae Owens
Grace and Frankie…sorry, about the Gracie part….I was excited writing to you!
I just finished listening to a reading on NPR of “The Apology” and an interview with author, Eve. So powerful, deep, filled with truth, revelation and insights into our nation’s deepest wounds. She spoke to Patriarchy, idolization and racism. It provoked thoughts about our/my own idealization of others and also, came together with thoughts I had pondered recently regarding Reparation to African-Americans and Native-Americans. We so need to learn how to do honest apologies. We, in this nation, have so much to apologize for. Even good intentions don’t excuse the wounding of others. But it requires an awakening to know that you are causing/have caused pain. So, grateful that Eve has written and talked about and shared these thoughts and her own hard come-by awareness. Dona
Just two days until I leave for Madison!!!Five days until we see YOU!!! We are all so excited. Kelly heard you do an interview on radio, I think. She said it was interesting and that what you said, “Helped her.” I’m looking forward to a conversation with her about that. Can you delete the post with their full names? That was just for you because you asked. Dona
As usual, one thing leads to another and here I am still in my bathrobe jumping from one 2009 post to another. I’ve kvelled???, I’ve O’Neilled, been to The Ranch and eaten ice cream designed as a baked potato, learned more about Greer Garson, re-read more closely comments on racism. It’s been a happy two-hour visit, which I can look forward to again and again because you have posted for so long.
Look at all those fans like me so happy to make a small connection, some just discovering you, others who have adored you much of their lives. What a medium this is! What a time to live! Fans across the world who can never hope to connect with a person who has a great impact on their lives, can in this small way voice their feelings to that person directly. Only because you, dear person, reach out, are open to making that connection. I hope you have at least 20 more liquid golden falls and bright blue sky summers, all healthy, full of growth and self-discovery for sharing your talent and insights. Even if I have only a few of those fall/summers, I will be watching and listening and reading late mornings in my bathrobe. Dona
I was reading right now about Kelly’s story and how incredible you were giving her the opportunity to meeting you! And, Jane, everytime I see you doing things like I feel so lucky I’m your fan. I mean, there are lots of talented people in the world, but you are not only talented, you are also a big heart and beautiful soul. I have no words to describe how much you make me feel better and prouder of you everydays! Thank you for inspiring me and teaching me lots of things! I wish you all the best things in your life, every second of it. I love you, my dear! Big kisses from Brazil!
Jane: I would like a little acknowledgement to my comments please, what do I have to do to get a simple thanks or a “that’s nice”. You answer trivial ones, I think mine are simply telling you how much I love you Jane, short poems because I know you love them. adieu mon amour!
Thank you very much, Jorge, for your nice, warm thoughts and wishes. xx Jne
You are very welcome Jane I want you to know that you’ve been in my heart since the year 1964 when I met you in Paris! Remember Romy?
C’etait un plaisier de vous rencontrer a Paris 1964 Jane
I don’t know if you often read the comments made on the group “just fans”, I wrote one I’d like you to read and I would like to know your opinion on the subject since I highly respect it. Au revoir
Jane: je pense toujours a toi, chaque jour mon ami!
Dear Jane, July 7th has been since 1955 the date to remember the loss of my father, but this 2019 that date has been transformed into one of my most wonderful memories. A transformation made by you. You gave me the precious minutes I dreamed of and they were perfect. I loved your sharing on stage. I am going to write you a long letter about this complete event but for now and to the others following our brief saga, I want you to know that what I wanted most was to give an introduction of you, a person I hold most dear, to my friend’s daughter, who I also hold dear. I wanted her to experience the joy of that discovery and in every possible way I hoped for, that connection happened. She bubbled with joy all the way to the car and in the car and all the way home. One brief quote; “She is so PRESENT! She really sees you!”(meaning you gave her the feeling of really being present in the moment of connection with her.) Thank you so much from all three of us. Bob was happy to have that moment to reconnect with you, as well. You made all three of us extremely happy. Your fan with one N, Dona.
This makes me truly happy, Dona. xxoo