Author Archives: Kathleen

Brooklyn Weekend Zine Roundup!

This weekend For the Birds will tabling at the 2nd annual Brooklyn Zine Fest! Stop by and see us at Public Assembly [7 N. 6th St. in Williamsburg] from 11am-6pm.

From their website: “With more than 60 tablers and over 1,500 attendees our first year, the Brooklyn Zine Fest is NYC’s premiere zine event. The event has a festival atmosphere, like a craft fair but with printed matter.  Browse the tables, flip through some zines, meet the people behind them & discover something new!  ALL AGES and open to everyone, though you must be 21 to order a drink at the bar.”

Exciting new additions to our distro that we will have available include new zines by Lauren Denitzio and Cynthia Schemmer.

The Birdsong Collective will also be tabling at the fest with their amazing and long-running literary compilation zine, “Birdsong.”  Check out their Kickstarter campaign to help fund the printing of their 5-Year-Anniversary Issue!  There are still 10 days left to donate and they do amazing work to support independent artists and writers in the Brooklyn area.

See ya Sunday!

The Circle of 6 App: A Technological Helper for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

**Trigger warning for discussions of sexual assault and dating violence**

Call me late to the game on this one, but as a single woman going on blind dates with internet dudes in New York City, when I learned about the Circle of 6 app, I was elated.  Created in 2012, Circle of 6 seeks to “prevent violence before it happens” by using GPS and SMS group messaging to help friends stay in touch with each other.  It was born from the genius mind of filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman as a result of Vice President Biden’s Apps Against Abuse challenge for inventors to use the latest technological advances to help prevent dating violence on college campuses.

I had spent several years as an emergency department patient advocate for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.  Having also experienced both forms of abuse personally, I was entering the dating world already all too familiar with just how quickly my safety could be threatened.  Less tech savvy systems I used included placing a friend at a date location as a “plant” (often awkward and not always available), texting friends and family my location and “If you don’t hear from me by X time, please call me,” (cumbersome and if the dates went well, I usually forgot to check in, unnecessarily alarming my Dating Helpers), and of course, carrying my trusty pepper spray with me at all times.  But in reality, there is no substitute for being able to communicate effectively and quickly with 6 of my friends in the event that a situation becomes unsafe.  Just in time for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I thought I’d try to keep spreading the word about how this app works, and how it’s been faring in the hands of users.

This app allows you to choose four options that you can communicate to your friends in just two clicks; one to open the app and one to indicate which option you would like to choose: The “Car” icon signals to your circle “Come get me, I need help getting home safely” and uses GPS to provide a map of where you are.  The “Phone” icon requests an interruption phonecall from the circle, and the “Chat” icon sends a message that reads, “I’m looking up information about healthy relationships and respect. Just letting you know,” and provides links to and, thus keeping them informed but not asking for immediate response.  The “Exclamation point” icon links to national hotline numbers and a local number that each user can customize.  A more extensive video on how to use Circle of 6 can be found here.

Schwartzman, the app’s creator, states: “The essence of the app is meeting people where they are, no victim-blaming and no judgment. We were very careful every step of the way to check all the language, and in our statements to the media I never wanted it to be like, “Well, why would a girl put herself in that situation,” because that’s the rhetoric you hear so much around sexual assault with this age group, and frankly, any age group. Girls are out late. College students party. College students drink. And the bricks really fall down hard if a young woman is sexually assaulted under those conditions. And having been raped in a similar way, in a very college-y situation (it was someone I knew, we had been drinking a bit), that doesn’t take away that it was totally and utterly a rape. So much of risk reduction has this undertone of victim blaming, so we wanted to be very sensitive.

From Mother Jones: “The Circle of 6 app isn’t for everyone—you need an iPhone, for one, and some nice, supportive friends—but it could help teenagers and twentysomethings talk about abuse and sexual assault. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the US have been raped at some point in their lives. More than half of female rape survivors of all ages reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40 percent by an acquaintance.

From Bitch Magazine: “Of course this app is far from perfect—it doesn’t make a direct connection to sexual assault prevention beyond providing hotline numbers, and I have a hard time imagining a college student (or anyone) sending a text message to friends that reads “I’m looking up information about healthy relationships and respect. Just letting you know.” However, it does reinforce the notion that sexual assault and violence prevention is a community effort (combine it with your Hollaback! app for maximum effectiveness), and the more we send that message, the better.

Feminspire notes: “Why is this app so important? Mace is for cases when you’re at a point when you need to cause temporary harm. Rape whistles only work when others are around to hear them. . . This app starts before. . . as soon as you start feeling unsafe in any situation, all you have to do is pretend to be fiddling with your phone, when really you’re planning your escape, a safe exit.

Key critiques of the app seem to be that it is, of course, only available to those with smartphones, and also does not allow you to enter less than 6 contacts.  Many people complain of not having 6 friends that they would feel comfortable reaching out to in an unsafe situation, but entering less than 6 contacts leaves the app inoperable.  (See the comments of this LifeHacker article for more venting about the app’s shortcomings).  Additionally, not everyone has a friend with a car who could offer a safe ride home; especially here in the city.   However, while the app may not be perfect, for those who are able and inclined to use it, it goes a very long way in both providing tangible support and creating dialogue around a very serious issue that can often be difficult to discuss.

The app is currently in version 1.2 and is available for iPhone 3G and later models (including iPhone 5), and Android (2.1 and up).

Open Call for Ladyfest Upstate Participants!

Check out the open call for artists and musicians to perform at Ladyfest Upstate from May 3-5, 2013 in Albany & Troy, NY.  Ladyfest is a community based, not-for-profit global music and arts festival for women identified, trans, genderqueer and gender nonconforming artists. The application deadline is February 1, 2013!

A note on submissions from the Ladyfest website: “While submissions do not have to be explicitly feminist, we ask that they contain themes that support, uplift and revere gender non-conforming, trans and women identified people.  That said any work that is exploring, commenting, expressing and/or narrating the experiences of these identities and how they interface with various oppressions will gladly be accepted.”  More info here.

Sandy Weekend Updates 11/9 to 11/11

The G and L trains are back in service, increasing some mobility around the city and as another weekend approaches when more folks may have time to volunteer, we thought we’d again collect updates of the latest drives, sites, developments, and info for feminists in NYC looking to lend a hand! As before, email any additions to or add to the comments section!

The Ali Forney Center (AFC) works with LGBTQ Young people without secure housing. This Saturday, our youth are coordinating a volunteer effort designed to support the residents in Red Hook who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. We are collecting specific supplies at our drop-in site that Red Hook has indicated they need this Saturday!  if you want to drop off the following items: blankets, warm socks, hats, gloves (both winter gloves and work gloves) batteries, flashlights and cleaning supplies, including; disinfectant wipes, laundry detergent and bleach.  We will be collecting and sorting these supplies on Saturday November 10, from 11:30am until 1:30pm.   If you would like to donate, please plan to bring items to 757 4th Avenue (between 25th and 26th Streets), ground floor, in Brooklyn. AFC youth, volunteers and staff and will organize supplies and deliver them to Red Hook.

The Coney Island community needs volunteers to help go house-to-house to clean up. Call Sea Gate Command Center at (718)705-9666 if you can help.

The Gowanus Houses are using 420 Baltic Street as a staging area.They’re still without power, so they need batteries. They can also use toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, and hygienic goods. Call Marguerite Scott of the Tenants Association at (646)330-7449 if you want to donate supplies.

Donate your apartment or space to temporarily house families displaced by Sandy on Airbnb.

Relief Bulletin to print and bring/distribute to those in need of information and updates.

Park Slope Armory emergency shelter still taking volunteers for shifts

Red Hook Initiative still taking volunteers

CAAAV still taking donations and volunteers

Updates for all locations from Occupy Sandy Hub [including Staten Island]

Supply Drive and Fundraiser Saturday In Williamsburg

#SUCKITSANDY art crawl fundraiser Friday in DUMBO

FUREE updates on supporting the residents at the Gowanus Houses

Social Workers Needed to Volunteer Christine Quinn, Speaker of the City Council, and the city’s Department of Homeless Services and Department of Health, has made a special request for LCSWs and LMSWs to volunteer at emergency shelters around the city. People at the shelters have a range of needs, from mental health and crisis counseling to help coordinating services and benefits. Staff at the shelters may also need social work support. The need for volunteers is immediate. Interested and available social workers should call 347.396.7950 to volunteer. The greatest need is to cover the overnight shift, which is from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am.  Shifts are preferably 12 hours.

NIP Integrative Trauma Treatment Center –Available for those Affected by Hurricane Sandy The NIP Integrative Trauma Treatment Center, a provider of sliding-scale trauma treatment, is available to treat people who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath.
To learn more, make an appointment, or make a referral: please contact 212.582.1566, ext. 8713, or visit the NIP Integrative Trauma Treatment Center webpage.

Action Alerts and Notes about Secondary Trauma from Audre Lorde Project

Sliding Scale Accupuncture, Massage, Yoga at Third Root Community Health Center

Ryan NENA Community Health Clinic (sliding scale health care)

If you receive food assistance and were affected by Hurricane Sandy in NYC, you will receive 50% additional assistance this month with no need to apply – your account will be receiving the benefit this week (week of Nov. 5th) automatically. For more info and to see if you are eligible, see this link.

CAAAV Legal Clinics for Sandy Survivors

Apply for FEMA assistance.

Weekend Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort Updates



Hi All,

Just reporting that all of us birds were lucky to have fared well through the storm, but obviously there is tremendously urgent need for help in parts of the city that were hit.  Here’s a collection of useful links we’ve compiled for those who might have some free time to help out or items to donate this weekend.  One of the amazing parts of this storm has been to watch the strength of the community response, often with neighbors helping neighbors even before federal aid could arrive.  Below are some ways you can connect to those grassroots efforts and make a real difference right away!

Occupy Sandy Drop Off Centers; frequently updated

Oh/My/Rockness General Info

Brooklyn Street Art Blog Weekend Volunteering Options

New York Blood Center Blood Banks and Drives for donation

NYC Food and Water Distribution Sites

Amazing Google Map of Volunteer Options

Rank and Filer Radical Social Service Workers Sandy Round-Up

Food Trucks Giving out Food in Manhattan and Brooklyn

Third Root Community Health Center Storm Support All-Day Gathering and Fundraiser

Donate Unused NY Marathon Hotel Reservations to Displaced Families

Rent your apartment or space to a needy Sandy family or individual displaced by the storm!


Brokelyn Blog about Places to Volunteer this Weekend

Added Value, Red Hook

Red Hook Recovers

Donating to Animal Victims

Central Brooklyn Pickup Spots to Donate to Far Rockaways

Willie May Rock Camp Organizing

Brooklyn Volunteer

Sheepshead Bay

Donate at Brooklyn Kitchen

Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope


Lower East Side Recovers

Canvassing LES on Bike to assess needs

East River Co-Op organizing

Committe Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) organizing to help folks in Chinatown


New Jersey!!

Staten Island

Drop off sites to help Staten Island

Updates about Conditions in Haiti from the Nation

Petition from about addressing climate change

Updates from Safe Horizon about open programs (most re-opened November 1)

There will be a stoop sale this Saturday in Bed Stuy called “Boroughs without Borders,” in honor of the victims of Hurricane Sandy. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the victims. It will take place Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9 am to 5 pm at 525 Halsey Street (between Stuyvesant and Malcolm X).

If you have any additions, feel free to leave them below in the comments section or email us at and will will add them to this blog!

With Love,

For the Birds

“Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind”–Book Launch this Saturday at Bluestockings!

A reading and interactive discussion featuring editors Vikki Law and China Martens, and  contributors Kathleen McIntyre, Cynthia Ann Schemmer, and Jennifer Silverman.

Saturday,  October 06, 2012, 7:00PM 
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street, New York City
F train to 2nd Avenue

Join us as we celebrate the publication of Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind!

How do we create new, non-hierarchical structures of support and mutual aid and include all ages in the struggle for social justice? “Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Supporting Families in Social Justice Movements & Communities” is a collection of concrete tips, suggestions, and narratives on ways that non-parents can support parents, children, and caregivers in their communities, social movements, and collective processes. Let’s build an all-ages, inclusive revolution that leaves no one behind.


From the Preface:
There are many books on parenting, but few on being a good community member and a good ally to parents, caregivers, and children as we collectively build a strong all-ages culture of resistance.  Any group of parents will tell you how hard their struggles are and how they are left out, but no book focuses on how allies can address issues of caretakers’ and children’s oppression.  Isolated by age within an individualistic, capitalist culture, many well-intentioned childless activists don’t interact with young people on a regular basis and don’t know how.  Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind provides them with the resources and support to get started.” (p. 4)

Vikki Law is a co-founder of Books Through Bars NYC, and the author of “Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women” and the zine “Tenacious: Art & Writings from Women in Prison.”   China Martens raised her daughter as a single mother on welfare and working poor while continuing to put out “The Future Generation,” the longest-running parenting zine in the history of the Western world.   Kathleen McIntyre edits “The Worst” zine on grief and loss, and for fun and survival, she is a member of the For the Birds feminist collective. Cynthia Ann Schemmer is a writer who recently moved to Philadelphia after not leaving New York for 28 years. She writes and produces the oral history print & audio zine “Habits of Being” and has been published in Connotation Press and RE/VISIONIST.   Jennifer Silverman is a NYC-based mama of two sons, an unrepentant coffee addict, and a co-editor of “My Baby Rides the Short Bus.”


Hope to see you there!

We Recruit! For the Birds is Looking for New Members

In recent months, several of our core members have migrated to distant cities, and after a very productive end of summer Collective Retreat, we have decided to open the application process for new members! While we will remain a closed collective, we are looking to fill two slots with fresh faces who feel like our general activities and style of work fit with your feminist goals! Please visit our Contacts Page to view and download our new member application, which comes with a description of what being a Birds member entails.  If you’d like to be considered, send us an application by November 15th, 2012 to forthebirdscollective and we will take a gander!

With Love and Excitement,

For the Birds

New Book! Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities

Victoria Law and China Martens have created a book-version of their long-running zine, “Don’t Leave your Friends Behind“, coming out in September 2012, and now available for pre-order from PM Press!

How do we create new, non-hierarchical structures of support and mutual aid and include all ages in the struggle for social justice? There are many books on parenting, but few on how to be a good community member and a good ally to parents, caregivers, and children
as we collectively build a strong all-ages culture of resistance. Many well-intentioned childless activists don’t interact with young people on a regular basis and don’t know how.
Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind is a collection of concrete tips, suggestions, and narratives on ways that non-parents can support parents, children, and caregivers in their communities, social movements, and collective processes. It brings in voices often missing in many social justice movements, including those from children involved in an occupation for a school library; trans and genderqueer parents; parents of children with developmental disabilities; doulas supporting incarcerated mothers; and childcare collectives across the country. Respecting, valuing, and sharing caregiving work builds a healthier community for all. Let’s build an all-ages, inclusive revolution that leaves no one behind!

The anthology features a chapter co-written by two For the Birds Members, Cynthia Schemmer and Kathleen McIntyre, entitled: “Parental Care Giving and Loss: Ideas for Care Givers and Their Allies.” Pick up a copy and save the date for the NYC launch to be held at Bluestockings Books on Saturday, October 6th.

About the Editors:
Victoria Law is a writer, mother, and photographer. She is also the co-founder of Books Through Bars—NYC and publisher of the zine Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison. Her first book, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press, 2009), won the 2009 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society Award).
China Martens is a proud single mother of a grown daughter and a founding member of Kidz City, a radical childcare collective in Baltimore. Her first book is The Future Generation: A Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends, and Others (Atomic Book Company, 2007).

HYPERSEXUALIZED: A Photographic Timeline of Stereotypes and Women’s Resistance Against Rape Culture

* trigger warning for content about sexual abuse*

Reposted from Black Women’s Blueprint:

July 3, 2012 – August 10, 2012 | Museum of Women’s Resistance | 279 Empire Boulevard | Brooklyn, N.Y. 11225 | (347) 533-9102 | 

A groundbreaking installation by women of African descent, Asian, White, Latina and Native American women intentionally scheduled to open on the eve of the 4th of July at the Museum of Women’s Resistance (MoWRe) at Black Women’s Blueprint.

The installation features a series of photo images capturing historical and contemporary sexist and racist constructions of female sexuality in America that perpetuate rape culture, the violation of bodily integrity, violation of rights, and reinforce messages that the denigration of the female body is permissible. The installation juxtaposes narratives from various cultures in America, highlighting complex differences as well as similarities between women’s struggles against sexualized violence, educating the public about the ways in which women have mounted personal, collective and political resistance against it.

Presented by Black Women’s Blueprint In Collaboration with: AF3IRM, Since Combahee, Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa (Monsoon), National Organization of Asian Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence (NAPIESV). Specialized tours are offered for youth 12 and over.  More details here


Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

**Trigger warning**

Reposting this web-gem from here, because we love the way it puts the focus and responsibility for sexual assault back onto perpetrators!  Female-identified people get a lot of messages about what we need to do to keep ourselves safe and minimize our risk of sexual assault (carry our keys in our hands to use as weapons, don’t listen to headphones while out walking alone, and, heck, don’t even walk alone at all!), when in reality, the recent National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted by the CDC found that over half of all reported rapes were committed by a current or former partner, with an additional 40% being committed by an acquaintance known to the survivors.  Only one in seven rapes were committed by strangers.  This list is also great because it  decentralizes the role of the survivor’s gender in sexual assault and intimate partner violence.  As the CDC survey also points out, male-identified folks are also victims of sexual violence, which is sadly under-reported due to stigma.   So with those facts in mind, here are some sexual assault prevention tips guaranteed to work:

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!
1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are commiting a crime- no matter how “into it” others appear to be.