The Breastfeeding Promotion Act... Mark Your Calendars & Meet Me in DC!

Back in 2005, I drove down to DC with my little breastfed baby boy, popped him in my sling, and waltzed onto Capitol Hill to show support for the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. It was an awesome afternoon indeed, full of nursing mothers, breastfed babies, lactivists, speeches, cheers, and a powerful showing of our joined support for the Act that would surely help protect nursing mothers in the workplace.

Again in 2007, I the made the same pilgrimage, this time with my little breastfed baby girl in the sling, toddler boy at my feet, and my sister-in-law and her baby girl too. (We actually appeared in the following issue of Mothering Magazine, sitting on the steps of the Cannon Building where the press conference was held - my beautiful daughter in my lap, me reattaching the clip on my nursing bra...yeah, it was a Kodak moment alright...)

So, why do I mention all this, you ask?

Well, guess what's coming up? (For those of you who are mathematicians, yes, it happens every two years). And this year - 2009 - the date to mark on your calendars to join in support of The Breastfeeding Promotion Act in Washington, DC is June 3rd @ 11:30am.

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act is to be reintroduced on June 3rd by Rep. Maloney's (NY). The following is from mama Lorrie Leigh who has been asked to coordinate an activist presence at the press conference that day. Below is the email she is trying to make go viral to all parenting lists, blogs, communities. Feel free to pass this on...spread the word!

To all breastfeeding activists/lactivists/concerned citizens!

Rep. Carolyn Maloney is going to reintroduce the Breastfeeding Promotion Act to Congress in June. With a change in leadership in both Houses and a White House that is attuned to work/life balance issues, this year we need to push hard for passage!

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act will:

  • Add breastfeeding mothers in the workplace as a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Provide incentives for employers to have private lactation areas for workers
  • Create a performance standard for breastpump equipment
  • Create tax deductions for pumping equipment
Rep. Maloney and other co-sponsors will hold a press conference on June 3rd at 11:30am on the Cannon Terrace at the Cannon Building on Capitol Hill. Once again we are gathering as large a presence as we can to attend the press conference in support of the bill.

Here is what we need from all who care about this issue:
  1. First, we need you to contact your Rep. in the Congress (find him or her here gov/ ), this week, and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. The more cosponsors a bill has, the more attention and support it garners. We need all 435 Representatives to know how important this bill is to the 70% of mothers who work and may desire to breastfeed once they go back to work. So call AND email your Representative and ask to speak to a legislative aide today.

  2. Second, we need anyone within driving distance of Washington, D.C. to make plans to join us on June 3rd at 11:30 am on the Cannon Terrace at the Cannon Office Building, Independence Avenue and 1st Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003. You can drive in if you are willing to come early enough to hunt for parking spot south of the Cannon Bldg. or take Metro to the Capitol South station on the Blue/Orange lines. This link shows a picture of the terrace where we will meet: http://www.visiting htm

    We need pregnant and nursing mothers, their supportive partners, grandparents and all your cute little nurslings and toddlers to join us that day for the press conference. At previous introductions of the bill we have had between 100-200 attendees at the press conference. We would like an even bigger showing this year. It is very important that you RSVP to wchappel@myexcel. com with the number of adults/babies/children attending so we can be prepared (and have enough kid friendly snacks/drinks on hand). And so that I can email final details to all the night before the event.

  3. Third, we need everyone who attends to plan on visiting the offices of their Representative in Congress immediately after the press conference, to personally appeal to them to throw their support behind the bill and sign on as an original co-sponsor. Don't let the opportunity to have face to face interaction with your legislators pass you by. Last time I went I had a very spirited conversation with a young female legislative aide who clearly didn't understand why her boss should care about this bill. The House of Representatives link above will give you the address of their Washington office. All of the legislative office buildings are clustered near Cannon Office Building. If you call ahead you can make an appointment (I would suggest you make an after lunch appt. time and go get some lunch with your kids after the press conference) to speak to someone.
Lastly, if you have a workplace lactation discrimination story you would like to share at the press conference please email immediately. The speakers lineup is being put together now and some mothers may be invited to talk about their own stories.

This is the year to get this done! Please forward this message to every breastfeeding, parenting, working parent list and group to which you belong, just keep the contact info intact."

Thanks all,
Lorrie Leigh, AAHCC

feel free to copy the above and spam all your green lactavist friends!

Here's to a great turn out ;)

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